Sunday, November 02, 2008
Fairy tales and bridal dolls
I bought the new DVD, Tinkerbell, this week because I know both girls love their fairy stories. Hannah and I hung out on Saturday and she got to watch it first. She has loved Tinkerbell since she was a toddler. I have to admit that the sassy and spunky Tink definitely has something in common with our Hattie Belle.
Sophie had spent the afternoon on a play date seeing a live presentation of Beauty and the Beast. She seemed disappointed, though, that she had missed the Tinkerbell preview at my house. When she asked if she could have a sleepover, I agreed. She has this cute way of begging that melts my heart. Soon we were checking out Pixie Hollow on my computer before snuggling in bed and reading from a grandmother's storybook that a dear friend had given me a few years back. This has become a sleepover ritual. Sophie loves the book and gets to pick the story to be read. Usually, she's almost asleep by the time I finish.
In the morning, we have our favorite breakfast of pancakes and syrup. Somehow, I find myself telling her about my one Barbie doll which was made into a bridal doll for me by my mother's close friend and cousin, Ceil. It was a labor of love, down to the tiniest detail of a blue garter on her leg. The doll was the table decoration for my bridal shower almost forty years ago.
"Babci, can I see it?"
Luckily, I find the old shoe box, my mom's handwriting proclaiming "Bride Doll" on the lid. We unwrap the tissue and Sophie is in awe. Looking at it with her, I suddenly realize what I had long forgotten: Ceil patterned the gown and headpiece and flowers as exact replicas of my own wedding dress. How much work she had put into this doll! Ceil, who was never blessed with children of her own. Ceil, who sent Mrs. Santa Claus letters and Easter Bunny notes to my children as they were growing up, gifts of money wrapped in foil hidden within. In her honor, Jennifer took the name, Cecilia, for confirmation. My mother stood as Jenn's proud sponsor, in memory of the cherished friend she had lost a short time before.
On a whim, I go rummaging once again and find my wedding portrait. Sophie and I compare the doll and me and decide that it is, indeed, a very good match. "She just doesn't have your glasses, Babci."
Sophie sets about making a bed for the doll inside the old shoebox, using one of my mom's handmade doilies. She knows that this Barbie is special, not to be undressed or played with too roughly. After cuddling her a bit, she is content to put her back to sleep.
How beautiful that this gift of love, created two generations ago, comes to life again for another dark-haired charmer, Sophia Mary Rose - she who believes in fairies, pixie dust and dolls who need a cozy place to sleep.
Ceil, who believed in the joy and wonder of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, is still making my children smile. There must be some pixie dust in that old shoebox.
And in heaven, I'm sure.