Growing up, I always wanted a black baby doll. I suspect it was because I was born so blonde and so fair. I would see little girls my age with their dark, smooth, beautiful skin and I thought, “I want dark skin.” I tried to get darker skin through tanning. I got Melanoma skin cancer instead.
In the 1960’s, there weren’t many black baby dolls available in my neck of the woods. I wondered what little girls of color played with due to their limited options. I remember seeing a little girl with a Barbie doll in the grocery store. Her Barbie had pink skin and blonde hair (along with that totally unrealistic figure). Perhaps this little girl was like me. Perhaps she wanted to be blonde-haired and blue-eyed with very white skin just as much as I wanted to be dark skinned with dark eyes.
My urge for a black baby doll was satisfied when I began to volunteer at Houston’s county hospital. Being the largest maternity hospital in the nation serving the indigent, the majority of our patients were minorities. I witnessed little Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian babies born every day – lots of them. I worked as a bedside educator for mothers’ without partners. I had my hands (and arms) full of babies from all nationalities and races. They were all living dolls!
During this same timeframe, the Cabbage Patch doll craze began. I went to Toys R Us at the height of the Cabbage Patch doll craze to get my very own Cabbage Patch baby. An announcement came over the loud speaker explaining we would need to wait in line and be willing to accept whatever doll was handed to us. The manager added, “When we are out; we are out. I need you to remain courteous and calm.”
I moved towards the head of the line watching everyone take hold of their doll smiling as if they had just given birth to the baby of their dreams. We knew we were lucky to get the dolls considering they were in such demand.
I reached the head of the line and was handed a doll with the back of the box facing me. All I could see and read were the words, “Cabbage Patch Doll.” Thanking the frazzled store clerk, I made my way to the check-out lane. In my excitement, I couldn’t resist, I slowly turned the box around to face me. This cute little black Cabbage Patch doll was staring back at me.
I had to laugh! Could it be that God was answering the prayer a little blonde-haired, fair-skinned girl prayed so many years before? Then, I smiled. I realized my dream had come true. I finally had my black baby doll.
When I got in my car, I couldn’t wait to rip open the box and hold my new doll. If you know anything about Cabbage Patch dolls, you know they come with adoption papers. I was thrilled to open the envelope containing the Certificate of Adoption. I learned my new doll was named, “Ritchie Tyron.”
The grass always seem greener on the other side of the hill as we continually search for the opposite of what we’ve been handed; especially girls. I am still fair skinned and blonde. The blonde just comes out of a bottle now. Ritchie Tyron was my fourth son in a male-dominated home. One thing about it, he was very easy to take care of and never talked back to me. That’s all I will say about that.
“Lord, thank You for caring about little girls’ dreams and big girls’ needs. Lord, remind us daily that we are all created in Your image and You simply do not make mistakes. Thank You for loving us, Jesus. Amen.”