Friday, December 5, 2008

"The Case of the Disappearing Bride Doll"

My "bride doll" had been missing for many weeks and I was angry that she was gone, yet fearful for her well-being. I knew without a doubt that I had carefully placed her (and the few clothes she owned) back into the third drawer of the marble-topped dresser. This was the bride doll’s "bedroom" and I was certain I’d put her there after my cousins and I had re-enacted yet another wedding with her in the starring role. It did not matter to any of us in her "wedding party" that she had no wedding gown nor veil because we were great at pretending and imagining. I even tried to convince myself through make-believe that my doll was missing because her "honeymoon" with her invisible "groom" had been extended. Still, I feared the worst–that I’d never be able to play with her again.

Although it was never spoken aloud, my radar-instinct told me that since my doll was not to be found in her usual location, that my Mom must believe I had lost her! How could my own Mother think such a thing? I was very careful with my toys, and the bride doll received extra-special attention and care.

"Okay" I reasoned to myself, "since I did not lose a happily-married doll, she must have been kidnapped." As a result of the fact that Mom appeared not to believe me regarding the whereabouts of my doll, I had to be my own private detective in the search for the disappearing bride doll. There was no ransom note to indicate she was kidnapped, so I assumed that one of my cousins had accidentally taken her home with their dolls and toys. By now I’d called in all the troops–aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, etc.-–to help with "The Case of the Disappearing Bride Doll." Everyone assured me that the doll was nowhere to be found at any of their houses. I was discouraged and confused. Where could she be?

Christmas was quickly approaching and I was convinced I would not get any presents, since current evidence indicated that I could not take care of the toys and dolls I already had. How could I expect to get more? No adult ever said such a thing to me, but my overly-active imagination had convinced my already broken heart that nothing else could possibly happen. No gifts at Christmas? It was definitely going to be my saddest Christmas ever.

It was puzzling to me that my parents never expressed anger over the doll being lost. Daddy and Momma were not angry with me very often, but I felt so guilty that I assumed they would at least be annoyed. They weren’t, and I couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps my parents were so irritated that they couldn’t even speak about it! I was really in T-R-O-U-B-L-E if that thought were true.

Christmas Eve found me eager, and yet reluctant to go to bed. Santa most certainly would not deliver presents for me during the night because I’d been naughty and lost my most special doll. As I gazed longingly at the marble-topped chest where my doll was supposed to be, I finally fell asleep in my bed In spite of my childish worries.

On Christmas morning my bare feet were moving quickly along the cold linoleum floor of my bedroom toward the warmth of the carpeted living room. My eyes were open, so I gave the appearance of being awake, even though I did not feel very alert on the inside. (Even as a child I was never a morning person.)

The farm-cut, home-grown Christmas tree of cedar in the living room was twinkling with its multicolored lights and silver tinsel. My sleep-sluggish body contradicted the jolt I felt inside when I looked at the base of the tree. I had to be dreaming! I rubbed my eyes fast and hard to get the "sleepy-seeds" out and to make certain I was awake. Could my bride doll indeed be standing under our Christmas tree? Yet it was unquestionable–my bride doll had come home for Christmas and besides that, she had on a glamorous white-satin bridal gown and veil! She also had a wardrobe case overflowing with beautiful new clothes. In my excitement I ran to her, snatched her up and gave her my best welcome-home hug.

I heard Mom and Dad laughing in the background as they tried to explain what had happened. Grandma Dovie had made all the clothes for my bride doll and she’d needed the doll at her house for all the "fittings" required for the newly-fashioned clothing. In addition to that, all the adults in our family knew exactly where the doll was the entire time! Suddenly I knew why nobody was angry with me–they were all a part of a well-kept secret so that I could be surprised on Christmas morning!

That Christmas I learned in an unexpected way that all hearts really do try to come home at Christmas, even if the "heart" is inside a plastic doll’s body! "The Case of the Disappearing Bride Doll" had now been officially solved. Case closed.

©10-20-03 and 12-06-04 by Janet Faye Broyles of Edmond, Oklahoma . This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.