Take A Walk in My Flip Flops:Travel Blog

American Girl Store: Chasing Childhood

We are far too occupied with being socially accepted and could all use the break to daydream of more simpler times.

When I was a little girl having an American Girl was all the rage. I was a bit of a tomboy and I didn’t play with a lot of dolls. When I had told my dad I wanted an American Girl doll he was a bit surprised. My whole childhood I was the type of child that did chores and respected direction from my elders. Doing this typically meant when I asked for something from “Santa”, I most definitely was going to see it under the Christmas tree.

Outside the American Girl store at Tyson’s Corner
Standing outside the American Girl Store in Tyson’s Corner Mall

Christmas that year came and went though without any American Girl dolls. Everything else on my wishlist however was underneath the tree. Birthdays and Christmases went by and I kept asking for an American Girl doll. When the American Girl store opened in Chicago in 1998 I knew I was destined to get a doll because it was somewhere we traveled and visited. I’d cut out ads of the store information and talk about all the cool things a child could do there every time I knew we would be close by.

Time went by and another American Girl store opened in 2003 in New York. At this point I was a junior in High School and not a little girl focused on dolls. I had stopped asking for an American Girl. I later learned my dad had some issues with the American Girl brand and didn’t want to support them and that is why he hadn’t purchased a doll from them.

At almost 18 years old after my dad had taken a trip to New York I was finally given Josephine. This was the doll I had so desperately wanted ten years prior. She was beautiful and I appreciated the craftsmanship, but that excited feeling I’d had thinking about her at 8 wasn’t there. I honestly didn’t feel much of anything when I unwrapped the box.

Fast forward sixteen years later my husband and I were planning a trip to DC. I had mentioned about the American Girl store at Tyson’s Corner. He insisted that we go and that I finally get to checkout an American Girl Doll store in person. We even made reservations to eat inside the American Girl Cafe.

I must admit as a 35 year old with no children or grandchildren I felt a bit silly walking into an American Girl store. All the magic and excitement I had over visiting didn’t flood back to me as an adult. We walked around and looked at all the dolls. My husband offered to buy me a doll of my choice, but I couldn’t justify spending $300 as a adult for something that would only sit up on a shelf. I found myself a bit sad, desperately wishing someone would have thought it was that important when I was 8.

We waited for our lunch reservation time. The American Girl Cafe is so cute with loads of pink. They have chairs for the American Girl dolls, food items to share with the dolls and really make a big deal out of celebrating for children. The American Girl Cafe even has dolls for use to children that might not have one yet, so they can experience the fun. The American Girl Cafe also, has adult drinks and the food was well prepared and tasty. It was fun watching the little girls get their dolls situated and to offer up food and drink to them. Watching and daydreaming it brought me back to days of tea parties and dress up.

Cotton Candy milkshake at the American Girl Cafe in Tyson’s Corer
Cotton Candy milkshake at the American Girl Cafe in Tyson’s Corer.

For a few moment I was that 8 year old girl again wide eyed and full of dreams, unspoiled by society and the demands of life. It may sound ridiculous, but it was somewhat therapeutic. This was an experience that deep inside I felt I had missed out on. Sitting there looking around I felt as if a void had been fulfilled and I am glad we went.

If you have a toy you didn’t get as a child you can still go buy it if you think it would give you joy or go visit a special place from your childhood. It is healthy to want to feel those feelings again and to connect back to the innocence that once was and bring back some childhood nostalgia. We are far too occupied with being socially accepted and could all use the break to daydream of more simpler times.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.