My small girl doesn’t wear dresses (except on holidays) and is most often found playing a sport or reading a book. The one exception to that ‘Delaney-Rule’ has always been her love of all things American Girl. When she is feeling especially smart, she’ll combine the two loves and read American Girl books. (Watch Delaney explain her love of the books)
When she was just under two years old, my mother-in-law and I began a tradition with her that has held true virtually every year since then: we make an early Christmas trip from St. Louis to Chicago to visit the American Girl Doll Store, staying in a local hotel, and spending hours in the store itself, lost amongst other mothers, daughters and granddaughters celebrating a similar tradition, and of course, eating in the Cafe.
It could be the beauty of the dolls, it could be the history or story that accompanies them or it could be, as I experienced over and over again this Summer when I hosted a party for American Girl as they re-launched the Bitty-Baby line of dolls, the tradition of love and imagination that is poured in to each doll by generation after generation of mothers and daughters, but something magical happens when you enter the store, when you hold your doll.
And amazingly, my completely non-girly-girl is no different.
Though she has left many dolls and other ‘girl-type’ toys still in the box after birthdays and Christmases, her American Girl Dolls are loved and cared for and the books are treasured. She changes their clothes, dresses them for their teams (yes, the sports outfits are prioritized over the dresses much like their owners’) and can talk for hours about their stories.
With each new doll of the year, I watch her study…. who does she look like? Do any of her friends share the new doll’s hobbies?
This year was no exception. Isabelle Palmer was introduced this month – a ballet dancer who designs her own costumes and shares the message that it is important to nurture your own individual talents and skills.
While my sweet girl has never been a dancer, the message is one we have been talking about at home for quite some time. As is often the case, when wisdom comes from someone other than mom and dad – sometimes it is easier to accept.