I was out shopping for my beloved Annie, little girl in my life, with my friend, Betty, who has four daughters of her own, five granddaughters, and two great-granddaughters. She’s a woman of a certain age, with wisdom, whose advice I’m often glad to take.
Shopping for a girl is new to me, mother of grown sons. I can pull right car, lego, or chemistry set off rack in a split second, but this thing about dolls has me both baffled and enchanted. I remember back to childhood, but my own, not that of my children. My most recent home was filled with wheels, not dolls.
We proceeded to display of angels, which is what Annie had asked for. No, my sons had never requested an angel, nor had they ever dreamed of being a “groom.” It wasn’t just state of marriage that didn’t immediately enchant them, it was tux. They never requested dress clothes either!
So many blond angels, I thought, but finally found one with brown hair, like Annie’s. I have noticed changes in dolls over years, and always say a silent prayer of thanks that now there are dolls with different shades of skin and hair, and different styles and lengths of hair, as in real life.
I pulled brown-haired angel off shelf and put it in my cart.
“What are you doing?” Betty asked.
“Well, Annie’s got brown hair,” I said. “I want her to see there are angels with brown hair.”
“Are you sure she knows that?” Betty replied.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Are you sure she knows she had brown hair and not blond?” Betty clarified.
Ah, I thought, listening to my wise friend. The fantasies we have. No, I thought quickly. I’m sure Annie envisions herself with long blond hair of fairytales. Like many six year olds, she has a big imagination. I did when I was a little girl. I had blond hair but it wasn’t long blond hair … except in my dreams … because Prince Charming, of course …
Now, this isn’t about dolls resembling humans, or whether boys should be given dolls and girls wheels, or anything bigger than our inner lives, which is hugest thing there is. As someone said, “We never really grow up, we just learn how to behave in public.”
Behaving in public is knowing you have brown hair, not blond. It means knowing you aren’t really Superman! But how many of us really get there?
I thought of many adults I know who aren’t aware they “don’t have blond hair.” Perhaps you work with one or socialize with one. Someone who has delusions about themselves, or about how world works. They come in many forms:
·The manager who thinks he’s God ·The marketing director who thinks she’s Venus, goddess of Love ·Your friend who thinks he’s Atlas, condemned to carry world on his shoulders ·Your sister who acts like Rapunzel, waiting to be rescued ·Your frantically “busy” neighbor who thinks red shoes will save her ·Your partner, who occasionally thinks he’s Rumpelstiltskin and can straw into gold (or maybe you mistakenly think he can)
One of best things we can do is gently hold up a mirror to someone to show them who they are. Sometimes we don’t know!
As Scottish poet, Robert Burns, wrote, “O wad some po’er gift tae gie us, tae see oursel’s as aithers see us,” which usually is translated from Scottish into “I would to God gift he’d give us to see ourselves as others see us.”