Growth And Hor­mones

Escalon Times - - NEWS - TERESA HAM­MOND

Some things you just can’t prop­erly pre­pare your­self for. This was my les­son, most re­cently as my 11-yearold be­gan a sum­mer purge.

It all started with one sim­ple ques­tion as I drove her to swim prac­tice: are you still play­ing with your dolls?

This quickly mor­phed into her shar­ing a con­ver­sa­tion she had just had with her cousin. Ap­par­ently the two girls found them­selves in a dilemma, as they rec­og­nized they re­ally didn’t play with their babies any longer. Yet, what to do?

My daugh­ter shared the stress (for lack of a bet­ter word) they felt, as they came to the re­al­iza­tion of the pricey-ness of their Amer­i­can Girl dolls and how to prop­erly tell the par­ents, they were just not into them any longer.

A diehard less-is-more, type of gal I re­bounded her quandary with lit­tle strug­gle. So­lu­tion … sim­ple – we would pack away a few and maybe gift one to another lit­tle girl who would con­tinue to ap­pre­ci­ate it, how was that? My daugh­ter loved the idea of shar­ing her good for­tune and giv­ing one of her babies a con­tin­ued life with yet another lucky girl. And so it was de­cided.

Here would be the place where I openly ad­mit, I had no idea how hard this was go­ing to be not just for her, but mom as well.

The de­ci­sion was made to let ‘Madi­son’ go to the home of a sweet four-year-old friend named Layla.

Layla, had not yet dis­cov­ered the world of Amer­i­can Girl, but she loved babies and had sim­i­lar fea­tures to my daugh­ter. As silly as that sounds, Madi­son had been se­lected by my daugh­ter sev­eral years back for her sim­i­lar hair color, style and light eyes.

And then it hap­pened; my 11-year-old daugh­ter and I lost it. Now, when I say lost it, I’m speak­ing of emo­tion which caught us both off guard. She’s handed down toys, dolls, books and the likes many a time. Madi­son, how­ever, Madi­son was dif­fer­ent.

Ready to pull the plug and alert Layla’s grand­mother that we’d had a change of heart, my daugh­ter said, “No mom. This is the right thing to do. I don’t need to put all these dolls in stor­age.”

And so she pro­ceeded, to match up out­fits, lo­cate shoes and ac­ces­sories, all the while hav­ing her mom pop in to ask, “Are you sure?” With Madi­son watch­ing from her bot­tom bunk, an em­phatic “yes” was re­turned with each ques­tion.

My son, be­ing the male of the house, watched as his pre-teen sis­ter and mid­dle age mom con­tin­ued to break into tears and hug as we spoke of our many fond mem­o­ries with Madi­son. In short, he got a quick les­son in hor­mones, as both of us tend to be a bit of a wreck on any given day.

Later that morn­ing, I texted my son from work. Thank­ing him for sup­port­ing us and liken­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence to a scene from one of the Toy Story movies.

“Maybe it’s time we re­watch that,” I texted.

“I was think­ing the same thing,” he re­sponded.

And so, days later, we jour­neyed to Layla’s, my daugh­ter and I, and made the ex­change. In the words of her grand­mother it was, “one of the most emo­tional pay it for­wards, I’ve ever wit­nessed.”

In all hon­esty, un­til she shared that, nei­ther of us had thought of it as a pay it for­ward, it just sim­ply seemed the right thing to do.

Oh, sure, we could have sold Madi­son to another lit­tle girl and used the money to­ward some­thing my daugh­ter’s in­ter­ested in now – that was never con­sid­ered. The pri­or­ity then, re­mains the same now, we gain more from giv­ing freely when truly from the heart.

As we left Madi­son and her new mom Layla, my daugh­ter re­flected on the joy of Layla as she dressed and showed off her new­est fam­ily mem­ber.

Therein lies the beauty (I guess) of growth for not just my daugh­ter but her mom as well. There is no amount of money that would have left us feel­ing as we did that night – all tears put aside. In the end, we have count­less mem­o­ries (and photos) of Madi­son, but now it’s some­one else’s turn. Be­cause life, af­ter all, is best lived when we fo­cus on mem­o­ries, not things.

Big hugs and love, Layla and Madi­son.

Teresa Ham­mond is a staff re­porter for The Oak­dale Leader, The River­bank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at tham­[email protected]­dale­leader.com or by call­ing 847-3021.

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