For many many MANY years now, the American Girl company has sent me their catalog, at least once a year, without fail.
The very first catalog arrived at my parents' house when I was 12 years old. I think I turned 13 just a few weeks later. Too old for a doll, especially such an expensive doll, but I remember my mom and I snuggling up in bed one morning to ooh and ahh over the dolls (AND THE ACCESSORIES. DEAR SWEET GIRLY PINK JESUS THE ACCESSORIES) and I thought that maybe...just maybe...my parents would spring for a Samantha doll, for one final nostalgic hurrah of childhood.
They did not. Woe and alas, but also: I WAS 13 YEARS OLD. PUT DOWN THE BARBIES, CHILD.
Yet the catalogs kept coming. And coming. They followed me to my first apartment in college, and then to my first apartment with Jason. To his immense credit, he never judged me for the hour or two I'd spend on the couch with that catalog, staring at the dollsssss and the clothesssss and the teeny tiny historically accurate tea party foodsssss and gaaahhhhhhhh.
He did notice, though, and a couple years later he surprised me out of the blue with...a Samantha doll.
Right? I know. I KNOW. I can't even with that man. He's that good, and none of us deserve him in the slightest.
Obviously, that purchase only made the American Girl company double-down on the mailings, as it probably triggered some internal marketing radar. DOLL-BUYING GIRLCHILD IN THE HOUSE. DOLL-BUYING GIRLCHILD IN THE HOUSE. MAKE SURE SHE KNOWS ABOUT THE ACCESSORIESSSSSSSSS.
(Also not helping: The purchase I immediately made of a base set of outfit accessories for Samantha, including her hat, locket, purse, hanky and a reproduction of an authentic Victorian-era coin. Because she simply would not be COMPLETE without her hat, locket, purse, hanky and a reproduction of an authentic Victorian-era coin. Duh.)
(They don't even make Samantha anymore. Even though she was so obviously the best.)
My boys have never seen my Samantha doll. They have other dolls and I've seen how they treat those other dolls, so Samantha remains safely packed away in her original box. I take her out every once in awhile to make sure she's not being eaten by mice/snakes/stinkbugs/squirrels/ohmygod, then re-wrap her in tissue paper and put her back on the shelf.
It's probably the only time I allow myself to feel...well, not sad, but a bit wistful about my lack of a little daughter to give her to. Someome who might actually want to join me on the couch and ooh and ahh over the catalog, instead of looking at it like it came from outer space:
Da helllllll? I love me some tiny toy food but this shit? This shit cray.
Woe and alas again, I suppose. Not meant to be. Despite the fact that my boys will occasionally play with dolls and dollhouses and tea sets (to the exxxtreme, with a destructive vengeance, often involving zombies), the American Girl offerings are apparently a gendered bridge too far. I certainly could have had girls who had no interest in any of this stuff either, but in the end I have boys and they are boys.
One of them better give me a freaking granddaughter, though. No pressure. I just have something for her, someday.
*This post was NOT sponsored by the American Girl company. If anyone knows anybody who works there please ask them to stop sending me their catalog. Send me free tiny adorable doll accessoriesssssssssss instead. I will hoard them in my basement like a crazy person, thank you.