Friday, April 11, 2008
A girl and her doll. Not long ago, I took Sophie to an American Girl musical production at a theater in a nearby town. The night before, a mommy-friend of Jenn and David's dropped by their house and presented Sophie with a matching outfit for her and Kaya, her American Girl doll. This was a spontaneous act of kindness. The mom was shopping and saw the dresses, knew that I was taking Sophie to the show, and decided to surprise her. I arrived that Saturday and there stood Sophie at the head of the stairs, all aglow with excitement and looking adorable. Unfortunately, she couldn't find her school shoes and was almost in tears, so we stopped at a local mall on the way to the theater and Sophie got to pick out some new shoes, black patent leather. It was Easter weekend and sales galore, so we found a snazzy pair of play shoes too.
As we were walking to the theater, a tall man passed us and asked if we were coming to see the play. He was one of the actors from the touring company of Seattle Children's Theatre and played Addy's father. He complimented Sophie on her and her doll's dresses. Sweet man. More kindness.
We had seats in the balcony. There was a pole in the row in front of us and, every chance she got, Sophie propped her feet up on the pole so she could look at her shiny new shoes. She let me know that the stones in her shoes were not real diamonds but rhinestones. She said she could feel the difference ("real diamonds are sharper"). I couldn't help but think of Paul Simon's Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes ... that's how thrilled she was with these shoes. There were girls in the theater who had more expensive catalog matching outfits, their moms taking photos of the carefully groomed but somewhat pretentious kiddies. The child who sat next to us seemed sad as she watched the more privileged children. Sophie saw that this little girl had no American Girl to bring to the show with her and sat clutching her raffle ticket throughout the play. At the end, there was a raffle for four American Girl dolls. Sophie turned to the little girl and told her that she hoped she would win. A smile crossed the girl's face and I felt very proud of Sophie. Another act of kindness. Neither Sophie nor her seat mate won any dolls. But Sophie had acknowledged another child's longing and that had value in itself.
We ended a busy day with dinner at a new restaurant. The grown-up waitress was excited to see Sophie's American Girl as she had collected the dolls when she was younger. Sophie is at an age where the conversation has jumped to a more grown-up level. We talk about allowances, saving money in assorted piggy banks, and just how much each household task is worth. Sophie assigns dollars to her chores but thinks Hannah should get only 50 cents because, after all, kid sister is only four! Sometimes shy, sometimes sad, Sophie can also be bright and funny; I find her to be a perfect companion.
My American girl.