Emily and I spent hours pouring over the catalogue, carefully picking out which items we wanted most, and what order we would buy them in. You know, when we were grown ups and had lots of money. Within the first five minutes it was understood that Samantha was mine, and Molly was Emily's. Kirsten belonged to Emily's extremely cool and sophisticated friend Rebecca Pierson. She was in GATE. Marianne was four at the time, ans so had no say in the matter. She was also probably too busy walking up and down the hallway with a laundry basket on her head singing: "Father's hunting in the forest...till I'm grown..." which is pretty much how she spent the entirety of her preschool years.
Anyway, sufficed to say, we were obsessed. We even played American Girls (minus the dolls). Of course, since we didn't have the books yet, we were a little loose on the details -- the game itself usually involved a time machine and a bunk bed bomb shelter--but still.
So when Christmastime rolled around that year, you can imagine my Mother's surprise when I didn't mention the doll in my letter to Santa that year. We were sitting at the old apple computer we used to have...you know, the kind with a black and yellow monitor...pre-internet, pre-everything really. So I'm dictating and Mom is typing away, and when I start wrapping things up: "my best to Mrs. Claus, etc...", Mom casually asked if I wasn't going to ask for Samantha. I gently patted her hand, and told her I thought that was probably too expensive for Santa. (Keep in mind these items that were already featured on my list: A puppy, a trip to Michigan, Snow. Yeah, those were fine, but Samantha? Let's try to be realistic.) Mom suggested I put it on the list anyway, just for fun...and since I've always been willing to humor my mother's fanciful little whims, I agreed.
Cut to early early Christmas morning...when all was dark, and everyone was still asleep. I knew we wouldn't be opening presents for hours, so I tiptoed out for my customary peek at the year's loot. On the couch next to my stocking, was a brown box. My heart sank. Now, I don't actually remember what I'd been hoping for, but I'm sure it was made of something pink and plastic, and probably sparkly. Most definitely not a brown box. A brown box? What was Santa thinking? I didn't like brown! Brown was like dirt! Now, certainly I figured there was something inside the box, but I couldn't even begin to care about whatever that might be. What can I say? Seven year olds aren't known for their abstract thinking. I took a deep breath and practiced my present face for the morning. No use ruining my parents Christmas over this tragedy...and headed back to bed.
Emily has almost the same story to tell of this Christmas. Only, where I didn't even think it was a possibility, she was expecting a Molly doll. And so when she saw the brown box, she was heart broken. You can tell how anxious she was to find out, by the very fact that she peeked at all. Unlike me, Emily was highly scrupled when it came to surprises. Where I was disappointed, she was devastated.
Well. The end of the story is obvious. Emily opened hers first, and when I saw what she was holding I couldn't even process it. I opened my box in a daze, barely daring to hope, and like a dream I lifted Samantha into my arms. SAMANTHA. OF MY VERY OWN. CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
This would probably be a more meaningful story if I HADN'T gotten what I wanted, and learned the true meaning of Christmas or something...but what are you gonna do?