My Daughter Officiated Over a Same Sex Marriage Ceremony, But Thinks Interracial Marriage is Crossing the Line

There are few things Marshall and I enjoy more than watching our little ones turn off the TV, unplug from the computer, putting down their hand held gaming devices, and picking up some dolls (or “real life action figures” in the boy’s case) in order to let their imaginations roam free. Under the right conditions – a sunny day, a constant, ready supply of liquid and some graham crackers – they can play for hours, dreaming up interesting scenarios and dialogue for their plastic cast members.

Aya has always been a Barbie devotee. From the age of two, she has consistently had one request for birthdays and Christmas: a Barbie doll.

She has a venerable cornucopia of Barbies.

Mexican Mermaid Barbie.

Regular Ol’ Blond Barbie.

Armless, legless and necked Barbie.

And Princess Tiana.

I have always insisted she have dolls of different races because that’s the world we live in. Do I endeavor to purchase more Black dolls for her? Of course I do. However every Barbie she’s ever received as a gift from someone outside of our family has been pale, blue eyed, blond and dressed in the prettiest gown a girl could hope for.

Aya’s dolls have been through all kinds of adventures. They’ve saved each other from crumbling houses, avalanches, sought after lost items in the grocery store and wondered how they would EVER make it through the next fashion show without a stylist. I usually try to observe her without her noticing my amusement and chuckle inwardly. I’ve seen and heard everything her imagination has to offer.

Or at least I thought I had.

Aya has been confined to her sick bed for the last few days with some sort of stomach bug. (I was certain it was appendicitis, but it turns out it has been an extremely severe case of constipation.) Anyhow, there she lay last night, cuddled up with Street Walker Barbie and a brush, sighing to herself with such ferocity that I was compelled to ask her what was wrong.

“I asked Daddy for a boy Barbie, but he said I could only get one…not two,” she said wistfully. She brushed her dolls hair with longing. “All I have is girl Barbies.”

Was her lip trembling? She was really affected by this. A “boy Barbie” wasn’t so difficult a request to honor. Why the need for a boy Barbie…I mean, Ken…anyway?

“Why do you need a boy Barbie, Aya?” I asked. “I’ve never heard you ask for one before.”

“I needed my doll to get married and I needed a boy,” she said matter-of-factly. “But I didn’t have a boy, so I had to use two girls to get married.”

I contained the snort that threatened to burst through my nose. Marshall’s face would have been a sight to behold had he been in the room at the moment. But he wasn’t in the room. He was on the road.

“Let’s call Daddy and ask why he didn’t get you a boy doll,” I said determinedly. “Find out what he has to say about this!”

After he denied any knowledge of this request and then finally recalling its memory, Marshall explained that he couldn’t find any Black Kens in the store and that’s why he hadn’t bought one.

“And if her dolls want to marry someone, she can marry He-Man,” he said simply. Aya was appalled by the suggestion.

“She can’t marry him! He’s too short and muscle-ly!”

“Then she can marry Winnie the Pooh.”

“No, Daddy! No! He’s too fat!”

Okay. So she objected to Barbie marrying a man because he was too short and muscular, and to the bear because he was FAT – but not because he was a bear? What were her other rules for coupling, I wondered. I asked her.

“Aya, if Black Boy Barbie – who’s name is Ken, by the way – dressed like the guys in our neighborhood with the drooping pants and oversized shirts, would you let her marry him?”

“Ewww. No. I hate the way those boys dress,” she said, wrinkling her nose. “And White Barbie can only marry White Boy Barbie. And I don’t have that many brown dolls. And white Barbie is prettier than my brown dolls. And besides, brown people need to marry brown people and white people need to marry white people.”

Well, that made sense. We do live in the South and that’s all she sees around her. But what was with the self-hating statement? Oh, Father. Here we go again. I erupted.

“Are you saying white people are prettier than brown people?!?!”

She laughed at me like I was a seal balancing a ball on its nose. I looked and sounded ridiculous.

“No! I said the dolls! Not the people, Mommy!”

Marshall was still listening to our end of the conversation and wanted to get back on the subject of marriage. “Why can’t she just wait until I buy her the appropriate Ken doll so they can get married? What’s the rush?”

“The time to marry is now, I guess.” What did I know? I wasn’t the wedding coordinator.

“Just like a woman,” Marshall muttered. “Just can’t wait for Mr. Right. The girl needs to learn to wait!”

“You’re missing the main point,” I countered. “She doesn’t have a problem with her doll marrying outside of her species as long as the specimen isn’t ‘fat’. That’s what we need to concern ourselves with…”

winnie-winnie-the-poohMOM Squad! What is the most interesting thing your kids have dreamed up while playing? I’m still trying to wrap my head around this bear thing. Do me a favor. Ask your kid if he/she would let her doll marry a bear.