Do you remember Cabbage Patch Kids; sweet, soft baby dolls with the strange faces that were such a phenomenon back in the 80s? My Christmas story involves my much younger sister’s fervent desire for a cabbage patch kid for Christmas. I am so lucky to have a sister who’s 16 years younger than I am, so as a young professional I could come home to stay with my parents and spend the holidays with this delightful little girl.
One Christmas, she (like every other child in America) asked Santa for a cabbage patch kid. I’m including a picture so you can be reminded of these funny, little dolls. Cabbage patch kids were all the rage, and they were difficult to find in the store. I was living in Chicago at the time and my mom called me to ask if I could search for a cabbage patch kids. The stores in Saint Louis and southern Illinois were unable to keep any cabbage patch kids on the shelves as they were selling out as soon as the dolls came in. (Reminds me of toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic) I looked and similarly found no cabbage patch kids for sale.
Stores were telling customers, here’s a raincheck; come back in January or February and we should have some. Of course, that does not help on Christmas morning to give a 10 year old a three-by-five index card reminding them that they can get a cabbage patch kid in two months. However, my dad had some secret connections–one of his students (he was a high school teacher) worked at Toys R Us. He asked if she could help secure one doll for his daughter and the student cheerfully replied that she would see what she could do. Well, this secret connection came through and we were able to procure the oh-so-rare cabbage patch kid before Christmas. I knew that cabbage patch kid was hiding in my parents’ house when I arrived home on Christmas Eve.
Our family tradition was to open gifts in the morning and most presents were wrapped but a few were not. So early, early, early Christmas Day my little sister snuggled into bed with me and explained that she was preparing to not receive a cabbage patch kid for Christmas. She knew they were super difficult to find. She had gone with my parents shopping and saw the empty shelves. She told me in her sweet little girl voice that whatever doll she would receive would be fine. She understood that she probably would not receive this special gift. It was all I could do to remain silent and not expose the truth.
Another hour passed and finally we were able to wake our family up and proceed to the most exciting morning of the year. My little sister ran into the living room and saw what she could not believe, a cabbage patch kid in its box under the tree! She was ecstatic. We all received beautiful gifts that year, as we did every year, but I remember her determination to accept what she would receive and to be satisfied. I loved her self-soothing talk. She prepared herself for what she believed was coming. Even though it didn’t happen, she was ready for disappointment.
We all know that life includes disappointments, but it also includes surprises. Sometimes, the disappointments lead to even better surprises. My motto is hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So I’m wishing you all happy holidays and an openness to the surprises that life brings us.
I am scheduling mediations for the new year. Call me at USA&M at 314 231-4642 to discuss.