On my seventh birthday I became the proud guardian of Barbie. My Barbie had long, dark brown hair, and when you moved her legs, her arms moved as well. I LOVED her. With the help of my crafty grandparents and parents, I created and collected boxes full of accessories for her. Clothes, furniture, and linens mostly. And of course Ken, the overly tan male barbie with plastic hair, followed by Skipper, the teenager, were later added to the family.
My sister had a collection of barbies as well. Her accessories were even cooler. She had the RV, the horse, and the bicycle, if I remember correctly. Together we played and played, inventing elaborate story lines and turning all sorts of household supplies into useful items. Dish pans were transformed into swimming pools, plant stands turned into stairs.
When I outgrew Barbie, she disappeared into the trunk in my room, along with all of her clothes and furniture. The trunk that held all of my childhood memorabilia. It has accompanied me to every home I have ever had, including the barn. Over the years I have sorted through it and thrown stuff away, but never Barbie or her luggage. I have always held on to her, secretly hoping I would one day have a daughter to pass her on to.
And that's what I did this weekend. Lola loves to play with the barbies at Carla's house but I hadn't given her mine yet. On Saturday, however, the two of us were upstairs reorganizing my clothes when I pulled out Barbie and everything that comes with her.
Lola was delighted! She has played with nothing else since. The glue on the furniture is old and not holding up anymore, and the pile of 'to be fixed' furniture is rapidly growing. But Barbie is still her fabulous self. She hasn't changed a bit!
It was so much fun watching Lola play with my barbies. We emptied the boxes onto the floor and she sat amidst it all, picking everything up and examining it carefully. She even took the barbies to bed with her.
I caught myself being very protective of Barbie though. I spoke of "my barbies" to Lola and watched her like a hawk. Thirty six years of guardianship is not easily surrendered. But the time has come to let go. I am not lending Barbie to Lola after all, I am passing her on, as I had always dreamed of. She is Lola's now, and she can do with her as she pleases.
Except cut her hair. Or polish her nails. Or use make-up on her. Or markers. Or crayons...