Gemma-Rose is playing by herself in the family room. The floor has disappeared under a sea of Barbie dolls, clothes, and accessories. My youngest daughter is absorbed in a huge Barbie game. I watch as she lines up all the Barbies and all the Kens. And then I notice something strange… something very strange.

“Why are the Ken dolls wearing dresses?” I ask.

“They don’t have anything else to wear,” Gemma-Rose replies. “All the trousers are worn out.”

She shows me a garment that was once a sparkly prince’s suit. The pants are split in a dozen places. “They can’t wear these,” Gemma-Rose giggles. “That wouldn’t be modest. And the Kens can’t go around wearing nothing at all. That would be even worse.” She pretends to avert her eyes, and giggles again.

 Naked Kens? No. We can’t have that. Something has got to be done.

“I’ll have to buy them new clothes,” I decide, and Gemma-Rose’s eyes light up. I hardly ever buy her new toys.

So I take a trip into town to search for new Ken clothes. Sophie decides to come with me but we leave Gemma-Rose at home. She is still absorbed in her huge Barbie game. There is only one shop in town that sells toys so I head straight there. I look along the shelves. There are plenty of Barbie clothes but not a single Ken outfit.

“What do they expect Ken to wear?” I ask. Sophie shrugs her shoulders, not knowing the answer. “Barbie dresses?” 

What am I to do? I can’t go home empty-handed and watch the light fade from Gemma-Rose’s eyes. But then I see something. Sophie sees it too.

“Wow! Look, Mum! Merida from the movie Brave! Isn’t she pretty?”

I have a thought: “Do you think Gemma-Rose would like a Merida doll?”

“Oh yes!”

Should I? Shouldn’t I?  I start debating with myself:  

Gemma-Rose would really love this doll… It’s a lot of money… But it’s so pretty… I was only going to buy a set of Ken clothes, not a doll. She has plenty of dolls. Look at all the ones she has inherited from the older girls… But those dolls are looking so old and their clothes are wearing out, and it is so special owning something that was chosen just for you...  Buying the doll wouldn’t be sensible… But I won’t have a little girl who wants to play with dolls, for much longer. Soon I won’t have anyone to buy dolls for… But there is no one to pass the doll onto when she no longer wants to play with it. It would be a waste of money… Think of her smile if I came home with a doll… It’s not her birthday. She’ll get spoilt… Or maybe she won’t... 

I have to admit Gemma-Rose doesn’t really need another doll. There is no good reason why I should buy it. But I don't listen to reason...

Go on. Buy the doll.

So I buy the doll, a pale-skinned Merida doll. There is a delightful sprinkling of freckles on her nose and cheeks, and she has long red hair that falls in curls over her shoulders. Gemma-Rose is going to adore her.

I walk through the front door and call, “Gemma-Rose! I have a present for you!”

Gemma-Rose runs towards me, and I hold out the plastic shopping bag. She reaches in and draws out the doll in a box and her eyes open wide. She can hardly speak: “For me? Merida! Is it mine?”

I assure Gemma-Rose she is not dreaming. The doll belongs to her. She thrusts her arms around my waist, and I am well and truly hugged.

“I couldn’t find any Ken clothes,” I say apologetically. But Gemma-Rose no longer cares about Ken clothes. The male dolls can continue wearing dresses. She has a Merida doll…. an unexpected Merida doll… a new doll chosen just for her. She grins widely.

And then I realise that sometimes life is not always about making sensible decisions. Sometimes doing things for no good reason at all is very important. 

I bask in all Gemma-Rose's radiating joy and I grin too.

Post a Comment

  1. That's so sweet! Melanie loves her Barbie dolls, too.

    Ken must look pretty funny in Barbie's clothes! Melanie doesn't have a Ken doll because, when I went to buy her one, the Barbie's were too irresistible. The Kens looked a bit plain in comparison so Melanie has a collection of Barbies and Kellys, instead.

    Hmm... I'm thinking that a lot of unmarried Barbies with their Kelly children might be as controversial as the Kens in their dresses!

    God bless, Sue:-)

    1. Vicky,

      Barbies are definitely more appealing than Kens. The girls have a Ken dressed as a prince, which is more attractive. Well he WAS dressed as a prince until his suit fell apart. Now he looks more like a girl in his dress! Why are the clothes so expensive but so fragile? Of course, very few of the Barbie doll clothes actually fit the Ken dolls. As Gemma-Rose said, "This Ken is seriously fat!" or perhaps the dresses are seriously skimpy. The handmade dresses fit them the best.

      "unmarried Barbies with their Kelly children". I think the girls imagine Barbie's husband is 'somewhere' doing 'something not all that important.' The interesting bit of the game is the mothers and the children!

  2. I love this post...Sometimes its OK to buy Barbie Dolls. I Have a 14 year old, who still likes to get her barbie dolls- her hand me downs, and her lego out..I don't discourage it, because one day she will pack it up for the last time.
    And then I will have to wait for someone to pass them onto...

    1. Leanne,

      Barbie dolls are definitely associated with many happy memories for a lot of girls. I can remember great Barbie games from my own childhood. Felicity actually inherited all my old Barbies but I think they all got thrown out eventually when newer, more attractive dolls came along.

      Yes, girls grow up too fast. Let them play while they can. And later, perhaps you can pass the dolls on to your granddaughters.

  3. "Sometimes doing things for no good reason at all is very important."

    Sue, yes. I couldn't agree more. I hope Gemma-Rose is enjoying her doll. : )

    1. Stephanie,

      The thrill of getting an unexpected gift will probably stay with Gemma-Rose forever. Isn't it wonderful to create such memories? Sometimes it's good to ignore what 'we should do' and just enjoy. Life really is too short. I bought the doll, the week our friend died. I was thinking you have to do things now in this present moment. Soon Gemma-Rose won't be at all interested in dolls, like she is today. She IS enjoying her doll! So glad I bought it.

    2. Sue, I can just picture her sitting on the floor playing with her doll. We really can learn so much from losing a dear family member or friend. I hope to share a story on my blog soon about that very topic. God bless you and your family. I hope you are doing well after the loss of your friend.

    3. Stephanie,

      I am so very sorry for your own losses. Maybe we learn just how fragile and precious life is when we lose someone. We really have to live in the moment, appreciating what we have, because we can never go back and do it all over again. It would be awful to have regrets, wouldn't it?

      You are thoughtful asking how we are doing. We're fine,thank you. Charlotte has her piano exam next Wednesday. Ian's wife was hoping to give Charlotte a lesson on the examination grand piano, this week. Ian had always managed to arrange this in previous years. But it seems Ian had special privileges... Charlotte will just have to do her best on the day. She should be okay though. She has nerves of steel!

      I will watch out for your story! It is good to share thoughts and feelings, and support each other.

      God bless you!

  4. I love this story. Thank you for sharing it. My husband took our daughters (age 22 & 15) to Brave. They all loved it. I am waiting for it to come to the discount movie theater before I go, though.

    Last week I was at a garage sale, and the lady there GAVE me an almost-but-not-quite complete set of weights & a bench press...which my 17yo has been badly wanting. He was so pleased and amazed that I got it for him, and will be buying the crucial missing bar for it soon.

    1. Amy,

      Andy and I took our four youngest girls to see "Brave" during the school holidays. Yes, it was an expensive outing, but it was a rare treat. The last kids' movie I went to see was "The Lion King". Can you believe that? I'm sure Callum was only about 3 at the time. Now he's 20. I got out of the habit of going to the cinema when we had babies and toddlers in the family. It was just too difficult.

      Did your husband and daughters see "Brave" in 3D?

      Isn't it amazing how the things we'd really like sometimes just drop into our hands? What a thrill your son must have got when you gave him the weights. I always think God smiles when we receive an unexpected gift. I think He likes to spoil us too, so why not spoil our children occasionally too?

  5. Your Gemma-Rose and my Margaret Rose would get along famously :-) Last night she went to the grocery store with me and while I was at the check-out she perused the Barbie aisle. Moments later she arrived with Merida in hand, we both exclaimed over her freckles and then my sweet girl happily put her back on the shelf - which is why I'm so tempted to go back ;-) My older girls had the Only Hearts Club dolls, which I really liked, but Margaret does love her barbies.

    1. Beate,

      Gemma-Rose and Margaret Rose... they sound like they were made for friendship! How old is your daughter? Perhaps Gemma-Rose could write a proper letter to Margaret Rose?

      "then my sweet girl happily put her back on the shelf - which is why I'm so tempted to go back " That's exactly why I wanted to buy the Merida doll so much. Gemma-Rose didn't ask for her and never expected to receive her. It was such a special moment when I saw her incredulous face as she pulled the doll out of the bag!

      I've never seen Only Hearts Club dolls. I will have to google them!

    2. Miss Margaret Rose is 8 and would love a pen-pal :-) I can just imagine Gemma Rose's face and her mommas happy heart!

    3. Miss Gemma-Rose is delighted that Miss Margaret Rose will be her pen friend! Expect a letter soon!

  6. There is just nothing better than the surprise on a child's face when they receive something special!


    1. Angela,

      It's a pity I didn't think to take a photo of Gemma-Rose's face. You are quite right: there's nothing better than such moments. I bet she remembers getting that doll for a long time!


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