The doll I didn’t choose: a memory with my mother

When I was about three, I attended a nursery a few times a week. It was shortly after my baby brother was born with a heart disease and my parents were busy caring for him and managing their work at the same time. Usually, my father would take me to the nursery in the morning on his bike and my mother would pick me up by car in the afternoon.

Though I was a temporary member of the nursery, the teachers and the kids alike welcomed me into their daily routine and I enjoyed my time there. I became particularly close to one girl. We both loved dolls, and while playing together, we came across our special favourite — a doll of a little girl. The doll was of a cuddling size with her hair soft like real human hair, and what made her even more special was her eye lids which closed when we laid her down and opened when we made her sit up.

My friend and I fell in love with the doll and played with her day after day. But no matter how much I loved the doll, to my great disappointment, I couldn’t take her back home with me. I wanted to have a doll like her at home, too.

One day, while driving back home with my mother, I told her about the doll I loved playing with at the nursery.

“This doll is so special,” I explained to my mother eagerly. “She can open and close her eyes like us!”

My mother listened to me with interest, but didn’t offer me to buy one for me. So, I finally revealed my wish.

“I want to have one.”

At first, my mother tried to divert my attention as she normally did, telling me that I could wait until some special occasion. Then she would buy me one, she promised.

Usually, I would be fine with such a promise. I was good at waiting. But that day, when my mother didn’t accept my wish, I felt so sad that I couldn’t control myself. As we passed by the post office just a few hundred meters away from our home, tears rolled down my cheeks and I started to whine. It was as if all the lights had been turned off in my tiny world. I felt desperate.

I don’t remember exactly what happened in the next few minutes after my tears. Half an hour later, however, my mother and I were back in the car, heading to the shopping mall in the city centre to buy me a new doll.

My mother was in a hurry, for a good reason related to my baby brother, and as soon as we got off the car, we ran into the store and dashed to the children’s toy section.

We were welcomed by a shelf full of different pretty dolls. Since my mother had made it clear that we were supposed to go back home soon, I started looking for one that looked similar to the one I loved at my nursery. My mother also helped me with searching.

A few minutes later, I picked one doll in my hands. With straight black hair and a gentle face, she somehow reminded me of the one at my nursery. Just then, my mother came back from the other side of the shelf with a doll in her hands.

“Sweetie, how about this one?”

The doll had curly hair and a lively face. She even had a summer hat on her head. She looked quite different from the one at the nursery, but very attractive, too. It was also special that my mother had picked that one out for me. I lingered between the two options. The time was passing quickly, and I had to make a decision. I chose the one I was holding in my hands.

With the new doll in my hands and feeling happy, I looked like a completely different person from the girl who was crying and whining just a few hours earlier.

However, even though I liked my new doll, I never forgot about the other one that my mother had picked out for me. And part of me always wondered what would have happened if I had taken back home that one.