Brian Dore

I am an only child and I was very shy around other children.

Even at school I would sit in the back and hope to fade into the walls. Because of being an only child I was much more comfortable socializing with adults rather then others my own age. My mother would encourage me to go into our neighborhood and play with the kids on our street.

However, when in a group of children I always felt like the odd one out. The girls would usually be playing with their dolls and in their own world. Because I was a boy, I did not fit into their group. The boys, when not teasing the girls, usually played different sports, as well as with their cars and action figures. I did not fit in with the boys, having no skills with athletics and having no interest in cars or action figures.

I really was most happy just playing in my room by myself.

At Christmas and my birthday I would always get toy cars, action figures, and other typical boy toys. I was always disappointed because I wanted a doll, but did not show it in fear that I would appear weird or ungrateful.

It is interesting how aware I was at such an early age that it was wrong for me to want a doll and I felt ashamed because of this. I would see commercials on T.V. or walk through the toy isle at the store and just dream of owning my own doll. I had a very strong imagination and fantasy life. I could be lost for hours. I would mostly dream of having my own dolls and being able to include them in my creative play.

One day my mom and I were at the store. She usually let me pick out a toy from the toy isle. I would never be brave enough to choose what I really wanted. I stood in front of the dolls, lost in my own thoughts. My mom found me their staring at them. I believe she was aware of my desire to have a doll and she could read my thoughts at that moment.

To my surprise my mother asked which doll I wanted. I could not speak, so I just pointed at the one I had been admiring. She grabbed the doll and quickly put her in the cart. My eyes followed her as she was placed into the shopping bag. The lady at the cash register asked if the doll was for my sister. My mom just smiled and looked at me with a reassuring face.

I held on tight to the doll box in the car as we drove home. I was bursting with excitement. I could not wait to get home and rip open the box. I played with my doll for hours. That night, my parents had a hard time to even get me to come downstairs and eat dinner!

A week passed and I was so content, just completely happy to finally have my dream toy. One night I awoke to my parents having a heated discussion over me playing with dolls. I instantly clung to my doll that had been sleeping with me. The next day I came home from school and my doll was nowhere to been found. I think I cried myself to sleep that night feeling that even my parents were ashamed of me.

The following Christmas I made out my wish list. I had been going over the idea of putting a doll on my list for sometime. I finally built up the courage and put "A doll" at the bottom of my Christmas list. I thought I might get in trouble or be asked to take it off, but to my surprise nothing was said.

Christmas morning I opened all my gifts and no doll. Holding out a little hope I was again disappointed, but had never really believed that there would be a doll under the tree. My parents then asked if I was happy with all my gifts, I told them yes and thank you. They both smiled and my mom went behind the tree, pulled out a large box and said, "Look, Santa must have left this. We did not see it hiding back here."

For every following Christmas and birthday of my childhood I got a doll.

Now that I am an adult, I have thanked my parents for deciding to let me play with dolls. I really believe that by them deciding not to be ashamed, I became a better person. Because they were not disappointed that their son liked dolls, I eventually became an outgoing person with strong self-esteem. It is so important for children to be supported and not to be made to feel ashamed for something as innocent as what toys they want to play with.