Several days ago, I decided to finally start going through boxes I’d retrieved from a storage barn in Tulsa months before. Those boxes had been in that barn for almost 15 years. So, in all honesty, I thought about throwing them away, especially since many of them had been on the floor when the barn flooded.
But, I knew they were filled with countless memories from my kids’ childhood. How could I throw them away, sight unseen? So, I hauled them to Dallas, where they sat in my garage for several months.
In those boxes, I found blankets I once crocheted, my son’s and daughter’s crib layettes, old photos (unfortunately, many damaged by the flood,) a Cabbage Patch doll, my son’s “Ooh-Ooh,” a blanket/bunny he used to sleep with, old homework papers and art, etc.
But the real treasure was . . . cue the scary music . . . Carol.
Carol was Adam’s precious baby doll. Yes, my son’s doll.
Of course, my daughter, Andrea, also had dolls, as well as a pet Tarantula named “Rosie.” 🙂
Through Andrea and Adam’s childhood, Carol endured many awful hair styles and makeup jobs with permanent markers, including black lipstick. When my children were grown and flown from the nest, I sold my house in Tulsa and Carol, along with other precious memories, was packed into a box and stored away in the barn, where she remained for almost 15 years.
One might say she hasn’t aged very well, but she was one well-loved baby doll.
So, where does motherhood come into this blog post?
Well, after I bathed Carol and washed her hair, I gave her to Allie–my granddaughter, and Adam’s and Emily’s daughter, who will turn 3 this month.
I wish I had recorded when I first handed a newly-swaddled Carol to her, but I suppose some moments should be relished in real life, and not behind an iPhone screen.
Allie took Carol into her arms, ever so gently, and kissed her head. She walked away, talking softly to her as she held her close–a natural mommy at 3!
Of course, I thought about all the years that had passed, that Carol had once been her dad’s baby doll that he had once treated just as tenderly. (Well, okay, except for the black lipstick!) 🙂
But the other thing I thought about was that to Allie, Carol was the most beautiful “baby” in the world. She didn’t care what Carol looked like. She didn’t even care what she smelled like. (I couldn’t completely get that musty barn smell out of her hair.)
Allie loves Carol because she’s “her baby.”
I wonder if motherhood is something innate, a compilation of love, compassion, empathy, acceptance and tenderness. Of course, having been a mother, I also know it can be frustration, insecurity, helplessness, hurt feelings and anger.
I think all mothers question whether they were good moms–it’s just a part of being a mother. So, maybe this blog post is nothing more than a continuation of trying to figure out what makes a good mother.
All I really know is, when I saw Allie take Carol gently in her arms, I was happy that so many years after Carol was placed in that box, she will be loved again.