Cabbage Patch Doll

With Christmas just around the corner, I remembered back to this story I wrote years ago about my biggest Christmas wish as a 9-year-old.

Money was tight when I was growing up. We never went hungry, but we also rarely ate out. My mom bought macaroni noodles in bulk and added them to one box of generic macaroni and cheese to feed five kids.

This meant that when Christmas rolled around we might get one or two gifts, but we for sure didn’t get the latest, greatest toy on the market. Still, Christmas was always magical in our house, no matter what my parents’ budget was, and I anxiously anticipated that exciting morning.

In 1983 Cabbage Patch Kids were on every 9-year-old girl’s Christmas list. Parents lined up outside toy stores to fight over the latest shipment of over-priced dolls, and rumors spread of some paying over $100 for them.

As much as my parents knew I wanted one, I knew that owning one of these dolls was not a reality for me. I didn’t even consider putting it on my list.

My cousin, Nina, was in the same financial boat as my family. Her parents also couldn’t afford a Cabbage Patch, but we talked about how fun it would be if we both had one. These dolls even came with adoption papers. We dreamed up the most beautiful names for our imaginary babies and told each other what great adoptive parents we would be. It was fun to dream.

I didn’t sit around moping at the fact that I would never be the proud parent of a Cabbage Patch doll. I was okay with it. I knew that if my parents had the means, they would have loved to surprise me with one of those dolls.

On Christmas morning, we took turns opening our gifts to prolong the excitement, starting with the youngest. As the oldest child, I could hardly wait for my turn, wondering what I might get. …