Only a certain type of parent will understand the essence of what I am about to share. There is an adrenaline rush that does not soon wane when you have got your tired, gnarled, grubby little hands on an object so desired by your children that it is all your family eats, lives and breathes. That object threatened to be the American Girl Doll Cecile, but a most fortuitous event has spared us the pain of possible agony.
As I mentioned to you a few days ago, Aya has gotten her sights set on an American Girl Doll. I believe I also mentioned that these dolls never, EVER go on sale. Ain’t no Black Friday at American Girl. Ain’t no Presidents’ Day clearance at American Girl. There are certain things that are constants in our universe: The sun will always be hot, pigs will never fly, and American Girl dolls are never sold at a discount.
Unless there is a miracle, that is!
As I mentioned before, I would have to work a lot of extra hours to earn the money for this doll. As far as my husband is concerned, it is an utter frivolity, and the money could be better spent on gas and socks. You know – solid things that the family needs. But for every girl-turned-woman who grew up without that Barbie dream house or the battery powered Barbie Corvette, you know that there is a certain dysfunction that plagues your very existence…a wrong that we spend a good part of our adult life trying to put right. It’s the reason that so many of us become shoe whores or lease a car every 2 years instead of buying one. It’s a hole that never gets filled, despite your best efforts. There is always that one thing that could have made your childhood complete: a friend, a dress, a hair do, a doll. I don’t know if Cecile is Aya’s “one thing”, but we’ll certainly find out on Christmas morning, and it will not have cost me 2 weeks’ worth of work to find out.
A friend of mine called me yesterday morning, sounding very grim. I normally greet her with a serenade, but she cut me off.
“No!” she bellowed. “There is no time for that. Are you by a computer? If not, go get by one now!”
I raced up the stairs, balancing myself precariously in socked feet, hoping not to fall. What could be so urgent?
“Go to todayshow.com…”
“What?” I asked.
The line had gone dead. I dialed her back, waiting for my laptop to boot up, still wondering what was on the internet that had caused such urgency in her communication. Was there a donkey doing the moonwalk? That would be funny…
“Are you on todayshow.com?”
“No, I didn’t hear you…”
“Well get there fast. Go to Jill’s steals and deals. I’ll wait.”
“My computer still hasn’t finished booting up,” I complained.
“Oh. Well I’m already there,” she said, her voice high and thin with excitement. “What’s the name of the doll Aya wanted? Cecile?”
“Yes,” I mumbled.
I wasn’t in the mood to discuss the doll. My job had called me to tell me that they were “giving” me the day off this Thursday, and while I was grateful for the time off (my Bishop is celebrating 39 years in ministry this Thursday and Friday, and I really wanted to attend) I still really needed those hours.
“Well it’s on sale…today only,” she breathed.
“What? For how much?”
My heart was beating wildly in my chest. I didn’t bother to try and slow down its rate.
“For fifty dollars off,” she said solemnly.
“Oh my gawd!!!”
“Hurry! We have to get on the site! The sale ends at 8:15 CST!”
“But it’s already 10:16 eastern!” I wailed.
“Never mind that!” she scolded. “Just hurry! We have to try!”
The two of us fumbled through pages, buttons, and drop downs. She had already gotten to the cart while I was still trying to locate Cecile. There was so much to muddle through. Canopy beds, books, a brown terrier…finally I saw the button with the promo code. The doll wasn’t $50 off – it was priced AT $50.
I clicked on the item frantically, unwittingly adding 6 dolls to my cart.
“How you doing over there?” I asked my friend.
She was breathing laboriously as she had just encountered a Gateway error.
“I can’t get through,” she muttered. “It keeps telling me the email address I’m entering is invalid.”
I explained that the site was slow on my end as well. I felt like we were in the throes of battle.
“Listen. I’m going to give you my credit card number,” I ordered. “You keep trying on your end, and I’ll call them to place the order as well.”
She scribbled down my information and we hung up. At that moment, the internet clouds parted and provided me with an opening. As if my magic, 5 of the unneeded dolls removed themselves from my cart and I was successfully able to enter my credit card information. I hit submit and waited.
Your order has been successfully submitted.
I leapt to my feet and let out a Klingon warrior growl of triumph. We’d done it! American Girl, my friend and God Almighty Himself had saved Aya’s Christmas!
I called her back with trembling fingers. Adrenaline was coursing through my body. I couldn’t believe our luck.
Now to some of you, this all seems very silly, particularly in the light of all that the world is going through right now. The Mayan calendar says we all gwine die in 15 days. Egypt and Syria are in turmoil. Our nation, with Obama at the helm, is about to (willingly) go over a fiscal cliff. My kids have time for all the woes of this world when they get older. But for the next 3 weeks – as she dedicatedly does chores and accomplishes academic feats that I previously would not have demanded of her – my 6 year old will learn the value of hard work and consistency and will be rewarded with the desire of her little heart.
Until next year, when she figures out that there is something bigger and better that she desperately desires more.
She is, after all, an American Girl.