Once upon a time a little girl played with dolls. She loved her dolls and cared for them, tucking them into their little beds and ensuring their outfits were well matched. She arranged and rearranged and rearranged again the furniture inside her doll houses. She imagined a faraway kingdom ruled by her all powerful She-Ra and a herd of colorful My Little Ponies. Her Barbies had families and children and a Ken who never removed his tux, just in case he needed to get to a formal at a moment’s notice. Her Little People had neatly arranged streets between neatly designed block houses that were constantly remodeled to suit their ever-changing needs and furniture.
Then the little girl grew up and had two little … boys. They introduced her to an obsession with cars, trucks, tractors, trains. They showed her that little boys cannot play with said transportation objects without making a motor sound with their little voices. They baffled her with their desire to pretend-drive in the real car. They ran circles around her on their little feet and drove circles around her on their little cars. She laughed at how different her little boys were from little girls. She especially laughed when the little boys parked their cars in her old dollhouse, making it a house of garages, and when they tossed her old doll onto the floor in order to put their trucks to bed in her old doll bed.
But one day the girl’s mother pulled two of the little girl’s dolls out of an old storage box. And she introduced The Raggedys to the little boys. And the life-size dolls weren’t tossed to the floor in favor of trucks or cars. Not even for trains. They were giggled over. And carried around. They were hugged and analyzed and they even brought out a “wow!” or two.
And if even for one morning, and if even vicariously, watching her little boys the girl felt little again. Big and little, cars and dolls, boys and girls – the differences weren’t so glaring.
For a morning.