I grew up, um, how shall we say it . . . not quite up to the middle-class rung on the socioeconomic ladder. I don't want to say we were poor, God was gracious to give us what we needed, but not a whole lot more. We never missed a meal, although my Mom will say we ate too much boxed Mac 'n Cheese. We never went naked, but I wore A LOT of hand-me-downs. We never went through long bouts of unemployment, but my parents weren't scaling the corporate ladder at the Big Business downtown, either. My parents taught me a lot about how to live on a little (Mom is still trying to teach me how to throw together a meal without a recipe and specific ingredients), and my parents gave money faithfully to our church and scrimped and saved to be able to send us to a Christian school. I say all of this just to set the scene that non-holiday presents were scarce and completely unexpected.
My Mom had just started working at this new clothing store in town, Kohl's. (It cracks me up to think how we didn't know anything about this franchise, since now I live in the state of it's headquarters and 90% of my wardrobe comes from there!) It was the mid 80's, and Cabbage Patch Dolls were the toy du jour, and crazy parents were nearly killing each other for the last doll on the shelf. Of course I wanted one, but they were way too expensive and it wasn't my birthday or Christmas. Maybe I begged for one, but I don't remember being exceptionally annoying about it, more likely I knew it wasn't in the stars for me to have one. Of course, I always did the right thing in my memories of my childhood, so I don't claim that specific detail to be 100% true, but you'll have to find my parents and grill them on their memories to see if they differ.
On that fateful day, my Mom came home from her shift and called me into our kitchen. She had a giant plastic bag and told me it was for me. I remember being absolutely stunned to receive a gift out of nowhere, and genuinely shocked when I pulled out a brand new Cabbage Patch Doll from the bag. She had orange yarn hair, and while I remember them being named rather odd names, I can't remember hers. I named her Kimberly, and she instantly became my favorite doll. I dressed her in some of my old baby clothes, which were always disproportionate to her size. But I loved her and played with her for endless hours and never forgot that special gift.
Even Alli enjoys my favorite doll, still dressed in old baby clothes!