American Girl Dolls have been around for a very long time, since I was a little girl. The website says they launched in 1986 which makes the company, and their cherished dolls, a solid 30 years old. Amazing. The nostalgia washes over me just thinking about it. I remember wanting one so badly. I had read all the books about Samantha, she was my favorite, born in 1904, she was a charming girl with big dreams. Brought up in a very wealthy setting she refused to let anything stop her from being her true self. She climbed trees and ruined her beautiful gowns for the fun of it. At least that’s what I imagined. I adored her and her stories. I begged my mom and dad for her but they always said no. Perhaps price had a lot to do with it.
Soon I grew out of my doll phase and ventured on to other things.
When I had a daughter of my own and she began playing with dolls I found my way back to American Girl. Only this time they were better. This time you could customize them to look exactly like you. Find accessories that matched your interests and hobbies. A feature I never knew about when I was growing up. What a fantastic idea. Why wouldn’t a little girl want a best friend who was exactly like them, or maybe, exactly like someone they knew.
My daughter fell in love with the one that Santa brought her one spectacular Christmas morning. And in amazement she gasped at the fact that it looked just like her. Same soft brown hair, same big brown doll baby eyes, same sweet smile. She said it was like looking in a mirror and I could see the joy stream across her face. That feeling I had held in my heart for so long, yearning for a doll of my very own, was transformed into this beautiful moment watching my daughter play with hers. I thought nothing could be better. Until American Girl surprised us all…
Recently I had heard they’d come out with a line of dolls and accessories that helped to include girls who might be a little extra special. From darling little girls who might need hearing aids, service dogs, eye glasses, or even girls who might need that perfect companion while dealing with permanent or temporary hair loss. They have you covered. What touched my heart and hit so very close to home was their diabetes kit. As some of you might know I have been a type one diabetic for 10 years now. All of my daughters life she’s seen me check my blood sugar, give insulin injections, and overall care for a disease that can be overwhelming and tedious. I thought, wouldn’t’ it be neat to see her interact with these little tools herself.
So, my sister in law who was recently at an official American Girl store purchased a few accessories for my daughter. A soccer kit, because my daughter is a soccer super star, reading glasses, because we just found out that she needs them, and a diabetes kit, because diabetes is a big part of her life, too.
It turns out, she was thrilled. She came downstairs this morning to tell me that she’d found out her doll was a diabetic. Shes a soccer playing, glasses wearing, diabetic.
“She’s just like me and you, mom!”
I explained to her what every little thing was and I watched as she checked her dolls blood sugar. We laughed about the orange glucose tablets, they aren’t my favorite, but her doll likes them so I can just give mine to her. I watched as she hugged her doll closely and told her that it was okay because her mom was a diabetic and she’ll help us figure it all out. And then I heard her squeal with excitement about it. Diabetes wasn’t some daunting thing. It was normal, and okay, and accepted.
For that brief moment while I listened to her explain to her doll what diabetes was I wasn’t ashamed of my disease, I wasn’t afraid of the complications, I wasn’t saddened. I was happy, I was proud, and I was a teacher. I’d never felt that way about diabetes before. My daughter wasn’t ashamed, or afraid, or saddened. She was overjoyed. She was happy to share with me and her doll a piece of her life that makes her and this whole family who they are. They are related to a type one diabetic, and it’s okay.
So, thank you, American Girl Dolls. For putting the hope, the love, and the excitement back in my heart and making it grow even deeper in my daughters heart. It means more than you will ever know to see my little one being so tender and caring with her doll and her diabetes. It lets me know that I am doing a good job.
Another huge thank you goes out to my Sister in Law for buying the kit for my daughter. Diabetes isn’t some horrible thing and you all make me feel so much better about it.