American Girl

I’ve seen them pop up on Facebook. Maybe you have too? 

Sort of tacky, sort of cute, mermaid blankets made of everything from alpaca fleece to woven polyester. So when my sister suggested that my niece Rayme might like one, I enthusiastically began the search. The procurement of girly things fills this mom of boys with instant holiday cheer. 
After consulting several websites, I found one on Etsy in my niece’s favorite color: teal. Two shades of teal, in fact. Oh! What shopping delight! Until I clicked Add to My Cart and this is what appeared:

“Don’t forget your American Girl Doll! Bet she’d like one too!”

“No, no she would not!” I screamed at the computer.

I have for some time possessed an illogical disdain for American Girl Dolls. I have absolutely no right to feel the way I do. I don’t have girls and I am too old to have partaken in the craze. I’m from the Cabbage Patch era. We knew they were ugly and we loved them anyway.

I do, at some level, realize that American Girl Dolls are harmless…maybe even slightly inspirational? But they cost SO much money and are trying SO hard to be every girl in a ridiculous stereotypical way that renders them Barbie without the boobs (in my ever humble opinion.)

However, I do know someone who has an American Girl doll…one that she loves VERY much. My niece, Rayme. 

I was introduced to her doll last summer while enjoying a beautiful sunny day.

Watching Rayme cradle her beloved in a towel, I asked, “What’s your doll’s name?”


“Tell me about Isabelle. She’s kinda quiet.”

“She likes to dance and sew.”

(Insert dramatic throat clear here. The one that sends my sons running.)

“Dancing and sewing?” I repeat.

“Yeah. She’s a really good dancer.”

“That’s cool. Someday she may like other things too. In addition to dancing and sewing.”

“I don’t think so.”

Persistence is deeply embedded in our family tree.

“Isabelle might be a surgeon, or a scientist who cures cancer, or the first American Girl Doll President! You never know. She should keep an open mind. That’s all I’m saying.”

“Isabelle likes dancing and sewing. Just like me.”

Like mother, like daughter. Who could argue with that? Not even me.

“She’s lucky,” I said. “Cause you’re pretty amazing.”

Rayme smiled, knowingly. “Can you watch her while I go swimming?”

“Of course,” I said. 

Isabelle and I spent some quality time sunning ourselves. She told me about her dreams to be the first Broadway dancer to sew her own costume. I made her promise that she would always eat three square meals and not give in to the worldly view of what a dancer should look like. 

It was a good, casual chat.

I clicked: Add to My Cart again and bought Isabelle a mermaid blanket too. One just like her mother. 

That is what Christmas is all about, right? Showing those you love how much you love them, just as they are, just as you are—which in my case means flawed and perpetually pushy.

Besides, this Christmas while we’re roasting chestnuts around an open fire, sipping hot cocoa, I’ll hopefully get some more time with Isabelle. Further opportunity to pummel her with possibility, future President and all of that. 

And, I’ll need Isabelle to stay warm. Because this may take a while.


Isabelle now plans to dual major in Dance and Neuroscience. 

And, she LOVED the blanket.

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