Natasha Zabrina. The most anxiously anticipated prize of my childhood. Chubby cheeks, braided hair, and a tush with an autograph stamped straight across it. My cabbage patch doll. Received at the height of the cabbage patch craze. It came by mail, a gift from one of my mother's friends. It seemed like an impossible dream come true. Everyone wanted one of these ugly babies, many of my school friends already owned one, but at the time they were illusive, difficult to find and far too expensive for the family budget. Yet, cabbage patch twins arrived at our door, one for my sister and one just for me.
For a few months I took Natasha everywhere with me. My mother helped us pick out actual preemie baby clothes at Shopko for our dolls so that there could be frequent wardrobe changes. When we wore pajamas, our dolls wore pajamas. When we dressed in red, white and blue for the Forth of July parade, the "girls" dressed in the same patriotic glory.
I don't know when I lost interest in Natasha, but it was well before my younger sister who went on to collect several other siblings for her doll. Mine was left in my closet until all of these years later when it arrived once again on my doorstep in a box. My mother sent me Natasha and some of her clothes, along with my wedding dress and vale. A girly trip down memory lane. One that, surprisingly my sons were quite interested in. Who knew?
They were particularly interested in my dolly. Okay, I had to do a little persuading at first, but they took the bait, by gosh they did, hook, line and sinker. Before I knew it we were changing "dolly" into her pajamas. Zachary read her a bed time story. We made her a little bed and tucked her in. Evan gave dolly a kiss goodnight. I snapped a picture. I figured we may never, ever play with a doll again in this house. My kids are very stereotypical boys. Trucks, superheros, Captain Underpants. You get the idea. But the next morning? The boys insisted on getting Natasha dressed for the day. Zachary picked out a blue sailor suit and Evan made sure that she had socks. She came down to breakfast with us. My heart sang.
Maybe my life would be a little more Marlo Thomas and "Free To Be You & Me" than I thought. Maybe my boys would become sensitive, compassionate caregivers who like romantic comedies. Maybe this means that our future will hold lots of long meaningful talks about our feelings over tea.
Natasha scores again.