Ten years ago we were living in Virginia. Each year at Christmas we would fill shoeboxes with small toys for Operation Christmas Child. Shopping to fill the boxes was one of our favorite activities throughout the year. One day, Kerry found this soft, squashy doll that really tickled him. I can remember him saying, "I can just see some little girl's face lighting up when she sees this doll." Unfortunately, when we set out to fill our shoeboxes, the yellow doll took up almost her entire shoe box. There just wasn't room for anything else and we thought we'd rather send lots of little items in a box rather than just one toy. We set the yellow doll aside and decided that we would hang on to her until the next year, and then we would try to suction her into a plastic bag so she would take up less room. I tucked her into my closet to wait. Then one day in the middle of summer, Emily, aged four or five, descended the stairs with the yellow doll clutched in her hands. "Who is this for?" she asked, with wide eyes and a hopeful expression on her face.
Kerry tried to hedge, "That's for a very special little girl."
"And I know just the special little girl it's for!" Emily replied with a delighted grin.
The yellow doll, whom Emily named "Yellow Doll" has been her constant companion through the years. Even now yellow doll lives on Emily's bed and goes on sleepovers. Yellow doll has dried many a tear and many a bloody nose. Even regular washing hasn't been able to keep her very clean but she has been very, very loved. Tonight, we walked into Walmart looking for shelves and as we passed a clearance bin in the front of the store Emily shrieked, "Look! It's Yellow Doll!" And there she was, clean and new and amazingly still for sale (albeit on clearance). We couldn't resist purchasing her and bringing her home for comparison.
What a difference ten years of love makes.