Happy Birthday Sophia

By Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday Sophia - my fellow doll lover.

               Sophia loves dolls – all kinds of dolls - just like her mother and her grandmother. She loves them so earnestly that she created a home for forgotten dolls right in her own bedroom. The dolls at the regular stores are fun to look at but she prefers the dolls she finds at thrift stores and garage sales. Brand new dolls encased in plastic are not as intriguing as the ones she discovers under dusty blankets or scattered in the left behinds of other children now grown too old for play.
            Sophia understands the drawbacks with new dolls – they simply don’t have a story to tell because they have never been loved. Old dolls always have enchanted tales deep inside them waiting for a listening child. Each doll’s story comes to Sophia when she holds them in her arms while she falls asleep. Then their individual tales become her dreams at night.
When Sophia wakes in the morning, she paints the doll’s story on paper or canvas with crayons, watercolors, pastels or oils.
When people ask, “Where do ideas for your pictures come from?” she graciously smiles.
          Though Sophia has lots of dolls, she knows they do not tell their tales to everyone. Each story is a hidden treasure available only to those with a kind heart.
Once her best friend said, “Sophie, you have too many dolls.”
Sophia knew her friend didn’t understand. She knew dolls that are forgotten and thrown away leave empty places in their former owner’s hearts unless someone rescues them and gives them a home. If these former owners do not eventually fill their lives with children, that empty place will remain.
The dilemma Sophia understands is that older children often think they have grown too old for dolls and childish things. So they store them in the attic or throw them away. Some fortunate dolls are rescued by mothers who cannot bear to throw away their daughter’s childhood. So they lovingly donate their dolls to thrift stores or garage sales hoping these cherished possessions will eventually find a new home and another little girl to love. Sophia’s dolls all have the honored pedigree for dolls that have been loved many times.
Sophia likes to place her dolls all around her when she goes to bed at night so each doll will feel cherished and adored. Often when her mother checks on her she has a hard time finding Sophia’s sleeping face among all the sizes and shapes of dolls tucked in all around her.
On her birthday, Sophia’s grandmother gave her a large porcelain doll dressed in a turn-of-the-century dress.
When Sophia took the doll from the gift bag she smiled warmly at her grandmother and they both winked at each other. Vintage doll lovers know other vintage doll lovers when they see them.
“Sophia,” her grandmother said, “this doll has so many tales to tell. I know you will have sweet dreams tonight.”