Fulfilling a promise

I took my 25-year-old daughter’s American Girl doll, Samantha, to the post office last week to mail it the doll hospital. I told the

Lori's Doll Before

Lori’s Doll Before

woman behind the counter what was in the package and we spent the next few minutes talking about how much our daughters loved the dolls.

The conversation reminded me of the story behind doll, which I still find to be close to my heart. I am finally able to fulfill a promise I made to my daughter almost 15 years ago.

It was close to Christmas and Lori told me she wanted Samantha, an American Girl doll. But being a single mom, money was scarce, especially at Christmas. I told her I couldn’t afford it, and “maybe we would get it next year.”

Instead of getting upset, she made up her mind that she was going to save up her own money and buy it herself.

She told me that she didn’t want any presents for Christmas. She just wanted money. I had already set a limit for the kids at $50,  which wouldn’t buy much today, but 15 years ago, it made for a pretty decent Christmas.

Lori's Doll After

Lori’s Doll After

At the last minute, being the softy I am, not only did I give her the cash, but bought a small gift for her to open so she wouldn’t feel left out.

Lori also received money from her dad and grandparents and soon had $80, enough to buy the doll.

The day the doll arrived was a big event. We all ooed and ahhed over the pretty Victorian-era doll and Lori set it up on her shelf to admire.  She wanted to keep it nice, for her own daughter, she said, but very once in a while, she took it down to brush its pretty long hair.

Then it happened.

Lori came to me in tears, the doll in one hand, handfuls of long, brown hair in the other. Her sobs broke my heart as I looked at the long strands of hair clutched in Lori’s hand.  Her 4-year-old brother had acquired scissors somehow (because of course, they were forbidden) and cut the pretty doll’s hair without remorse. 

I promised Lori we’d get it fixed somehow. But despite the promises, she was inconsolable for days, and it was all I could do to protect her little brother from her impending revenge.

I think she knew it wouldn’t happen, that I couldn’t really afford to get the doll fixed. And so doll went into storage, where it remained for many years.

A few months ago, I saw an ad for American Girl and asked Lori about the doll.

“Oh, it’s still in a box somewhere…I still can’t believe he cut her hair,” she said of her  21-year-old brother.

The grudge she held was apparent, even now.

“How about if I get it fixed for Lily’s birthday?”  Her daughter, Lily, had a birthday approaching, four days before Christmas.”It would be a great gift,” I told her.

Her face lit up with a smile, but then it faded.

“If you want to,” she said, and I got the feeling she had her doubts that I would.

But I did, a promise fulfilled. I only wish I had done it sooner.

My daughter  impresses me. Since she was a little girl, she has always done what she says she is going to do.

Time and again she has amazed me with her efforts. She graduated college, bought a house, and has a great job, among other things. She is an inspiration to me and everyone whose lives she touches.

And while I try to be a good example for my children, it is my daughter who has taught me a thing or two about how important it is to keep a promise…even after 15 years.