A terrible thing happened at my house yesterday morning, I had looked out Gracie's clothes for the morning, and when she put them on, we discovered that one of her favourite shirts was now too small. My husband unthinkingly announced to Riley, "Hey it looks like you've got a new shirt!" Grace's face dropped. Being the quick thinking lady that I am I said, "No no, that's Grace's special shirt, she does not have to pass that one down". The morning was saved.
You may be wondering what all the fuss is about an outgrown t-shirt, I would be too. It is not "just" a t-shirt. It is an American Girl t-shirt that she bought with her own money at the Boston American Girl Store. With money she had saved all year for the trip. This shirt had a twin, a much smaller, cuter twin, that belongs to Grace's doll. It represents memories, experience, (I know I am pushing it,) but even childhood. She's 10, almost 11, a tween. She is no longer a little girl, but not yet a big girl. Soon she will not want to play with her dolls, or us.
That shirt is a memory, a snap shot of last year's almost magical family vacation. My big girls LOVE American Girl. The dolls cost an arm and a leg, but it really is a fantastic franchise, and if we were smart, we would own shares in the company. The American Girl franchise consists of dolls that you can purchase to look like you, books, magazines, DVDs, clothing ( for girls and matching outfits for their dolls), accessories, pretty much you name it! What I like about this franchise is that it empowers girls. All of their products encourage girls to love who they are and accept others. The DVDs have great messages, as do the books. Most of the books feature historical characters that have overcome their circumstances. It really is a great franchise. As I mentioned Grace has hit that "tween" phase. I'm not sure how much longer she will even like dolls. It is because of this that I talked my husband into taking a trip to Boston, Massachusetts, because this is the closest American Girl Store. I told him we needed to do this, it was really important to me. A beautiful family vacation all blossomed from this.
When we walked through the doors of the store I looked at my two little girls faces. They were in awe. The look on their faces was worth everything. I stood there blinded by tears, hoping that they would not look up at me. I was so overcome with the beauty of my children's delight. They were so excited. We saw every single inch of that store. At one point Grace was touching the plastic bubbles in a display (we have always had our hands full with her in stores, she has always been a toucher). I told her my usual "Do not touch". One of the workers had overheard me and came up and told us, "in this store you can touch everything, so go right on ahead".
It was just the two big girls and I (Christopher had taken Elly and Rowan to the Franklin Zoo). The store was like a little girls department store. In the store they had a restaurant. Everything was pink, and girly. The waitress spoke to the girls like they were adults, which made them feel special and important. The company had thought of everything. There were little bubble gum pink chairs that looked like high chairs, that attached to the tables. When the waitress brought the girls meals, she also brought dishes for the dolls. Magical and very memorable.
The girls had saved $100.00 dollars for the trip. I told them that it was their money, and they could spend it however that they wished, but I recommended that they spend wisely. We decided we would look at everything in the store first, and make our purchases after lunch to make sure that they were sure and not buying on impulse. Riley spent her money on a seat like they had at the restaurant, a sparkly skating dress for her doll and doll shoes (which cost more than Riley's shoes). Several times I asked her if she was sure that is what she wanted to spend her money on because when the money was gone, it was gone. She was sure. Grace on the other hand was more thoughtful in her purchases. She purchase that same marvelous seat, some new American Girl books and DVDS and matching t-shirts for her and her doll.
So Riley will not get that hand me down. That now pillow will be Grace's until she is ready to let it go. It is not just a shirt, it is beautiful memories.