This is Carly. She’s my son’s Cabbage Patch Kid doll. She was adopted from the patch in the mid-1980’s and after years of playing together, I saved her for my children. She spent many years in a closet waiting for these children to rescue her, but as one can see from her custom outfit including a hand-knit vest, she has been well-loved for nearly thirty years.
Someone recently asked me if I gave N “girl toys” and while my husband thought of many examples (including a kitchen set), I struggled. Carly isn’t just a doll, she’s Carly. She isn’t for girls or boys, she’s for children who are learning to love.
N empties out his toy box, climbs in with Carly, and closes the lid. I peek through the opening in the lid and see him hugging her with a giant smile on his face. He strokes her hair in the gentle manner that we taught him to use with babies and pets. He rocks her and soothes her in the style that we have used with him. He holds her up to me and says, “baby, mommy.” When he and Carly rolled off of his chair and bumped their heads on the floor, he immediately stopped crying when I suggested that Carly needed her boo-boo kissed and he began to care for her.
Seeing N with Carly makes me feel like we taught him well about nurturing and love and I enjoy watching him practice it. While he already shows us his ability to love, his demonstration with Carly reminds me that someday he will share that love with his own family, as I am mine. Maybe Carly will be there to see it again.