Break-ups are hard. At some point in our lifetime, we have all either had a break up with someone or know someone who has. It could have been a break up with a boyfriend or significant other, a friendship that ended, or a coworker who moved onto something different. No matter the situation, when someone is no longer a part of your life it takes some getting used to.
I am currently witnessing a break-up that is taking me some getting used to: my daughter dumping Barbie. It is not a relationship I ever anticipated would affect me when it ended, but it is! I am feeling the loss, the end of an era. It’s not just the absence of Barbie in our lives, but also American Girl, princess dolls, and baby dolls that have been cast off, leaving me confused and sad and longing for happier times.
What went wrong?
The holiday wish list from my daughter this year was sorely lacking in the little girl playthings department. There was no stroll down the Barbie doll aisle, the LOL dolls one, or the Disney Princess one either. Nope, we skipped right over all the flashy and brightly colored aisles, that despite my whining and complaints about how silly it all was, I secretly enjoyed. Not sure when my daughter decided she was too cool for it all. When the big holiday American Girl doll catalog came in the mail, I handed it to my daughter, hoping she would at least flip through it and then possibly see something that still caught her eye. But my efforts were in vain. She tossed it aside and then proceeded to tell me that this year for her birthday, she wanted a pack of fidgets and pop its, and a cell phone (which gave me a good laugh) instead. When relatives and friends have asked me what to get my daughter this year, I have been shrugging and telling them their guess is as good as mine!
Here’s the real meaning behind my sadness over this “break up:” it is all just a smokescreen for the fact that we are moving past this phase of childhood and essentially moving into the next phase.
Not adding any more dolls or pink convertible cars to her wish list means we are no longer in the little girl stage, but rather we are entering the next age group: the tween and teenage years. And the fact is my mama heart isn’t ready for my little girl to not be little anymore. When I sold her Barbie Dreamhouse, I literally cried after I gave it to the sweet grandmother who was buying it to keep at her house for her small granddaughter. Our first trip to an American Girl store is one of my favorite memories. It was such a special day spent with family. Now poor McKenna (what she named her doll) sits off to the side of my daughter’s bedroom, with not even a glance her way. I’m not ready for that part of her childhood innocence to be over. And whatever it may be that your children “break up” with — from their toddler and elementary school ages — mamas everywhere have had to probably feel the end of their own eras as well.
I know in my mind that my children growing up and not staying little is inevitable. But it still hurts my heart a little while it is happening. I miss the bin of half-dressed Barbies with their clothes and shoes all over the floor mismatched or missing. I miss the princess dolls and the hairstyles that were tested on them and then shown with pride to me. I miss the sheer imagination and delight that came with putting those Barbie dolls and her friends all set up in their jeep for whatever adventure they were going to take that afternoon. Ever tried to play or be creative with a pop tube? There’s not a whole lot of imagination there. (For those of you that don’t know what that is, look it up. Ever heard the most annoying sound in the world?!)