On Christmas day, I got my very first American Girl Doll.
Yes, I am 30 years old. Yes, I have a child of my own. Still, I cried when I read that Molly was being retired. I actually cried. Not only was she the doll that I wanted as a child but never got, but it meant that all of the "original" American Girl dolls from my childhood would be gone. Molly was the only one left since Felicity, Samantha, and Kirsten had all retired before her.
I remember vividly the first time I heard of American Girl. I was in the third grade. I think there was some sort of awkward moment and I tried to make friendly conversation with another girl.
I said "So, what do you want for Christmas?"
"American Girl." She said, in a sort of dignified tone. I did not know what that was.
I don't remember how I found out what it was, but before long I was browsing the catalog and imagining myself as a girl in times past. My first favorite was Kirsten, but at some point I moved on to Molly.
I was 13 for Christmas 1995 when my younger sister Holly, the blonde one, was going to get a Kirsten doll from our grandmother. I kind of still felt like I wanted a Molly doll but I thought maybe I was too old to get one. The mini dolls were released that year and she was going to get me a mini Molly instead, but they were sold out. I got a Molly Pastimes Collection which included a cookbook and theatre kit, among other things. I did really like those things, and especially loved reading the cookbook. I ended up really involved in theatre too. Looking back, I wasn't too old. Remember that, everyone. You're not too old for a doll at 13!
The next year my youngest sister, redheaded Amy, got a "Girl of Today" doll. After that, each granddaughter has gotten an American Girl doll from Gramma when they were seven years old.
In high school, two years in a row, I volunteered for the American Girl Pastime Parties at the library and performed in shadow plays featuring American Girl characters. I remember seeing some little girls in the audience from my church, dressed to match their dolls. The second year I did it was the year Kit was introduced.
Fast forward to 20+ years later, and I'm crying about Molly retiring. I asked my husband if it would be silly to ask for a Molly doll for Christmas. Gramma heard about it and said she was going to make sure I got one. She was sorry she didn't get one for me earlier. We both thought I was too old for it at the time, but now we knew better. Anyone can have one.
So on Christmas morning I finally go the desired childhood doll. I'm glad I still got it as a gift from my grandmother. One of the things I always liked about Molly was that she was about the same age as Gramma, who was born in 1936. She was a little girl of similar age during World War II.
So I got to open up an American Girl doll for the first time on Christmas morning, and my little girl was there to help me. I explained about how this was a special doll I had wanted when I was a little girl. She was very interested in all the accessories, and asked me to read the book to her.
I'm making a funny face, but you should know that I'm an excellent reader and she's not bored, just really tired.
I've also become interested in Saige because I think she looks a bit like me, so I ordered the mini doll and I love her. I can imagine collecting the mini versions of my childhood favorites.