Dora is dead. Maybe not at your house if you happen to still have little girls. But, at our house, she’s dead, gone and forgotten.
Those of you who know me well will attest to the fact that I am not terribly sentimental. I don’t get overly attached to items, I don’t cry over most of life’s Hallmark moments. I sent my happy five-year-old off to kindergarten on the bus several years ago and did not shed a tear. Instead, I was cheering for her, so happy that we had made it this far, and knowing that school may well bring her as much joy as it did me. There are moments when I do get weepy. Last fall that same little girl, now almost eight, went forward at church and asked to be baptized. I sobbed. That, for me, was a very emotional moment. But most things I let go of. Baby furniture was sold, strollers consigned, tiny clothes given away for someone else’s little baby. And I didn’t miss it. But as I vanquished the last of the Dora items, something inside my little heart tore a bit.
Let me say, I was never a huge Dora fan. I mean, she’s nice enough. In person she has a super-big head. I don’t miss her gargantuan eyes staring at me as I shower in the morning. But there were many, many Dora things in our house. Even the deluxe Dora playhouse with about 1000 pieces was a hit for a while. But it wasn’t the departure of those things that hit me, it was Dora on TV (and of course our ample supply of Dora videos). As we scanned the channels the other day my daughter, who has long since mastered the remote, lighted quickly on Dora. I pointed out that Dora was on and my daughter says, “I don’t like Dora, she’s for babies.” The voice inside my head screamed, “But you’re a baby!” while my real voice said, “Oh, okay” and acted like it didn’t matter. It’s not my great love for Dora that put the little hole in my heart. It’s that the time of Dora and all her Noggin friends are gone. And with it, my little girl.
I don’t know when it happened. It wasn’t one particular day on which Dora was vanquished and iCarly promptly ushered in. I know it was a slow progression toward big girl-hood. And I’m thrilled to have a big girl. But, you see, in our house there won’t be another little person to prolong my connection to the beloved Laurie Berkner and her animated friends. This is the only baby. And I don’t miss having a toddler or preschooler. This age is way better! Easier! But I can already see the invisible string that ties my mommy heart to her little girl heart lengthening, tugging, stretching. And I know that’s good. It’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. But I sometimes wonder how many more times I might get to hold that little person on my lap and squeeze her before she decides she’s too cool for that, and that she doesn’t need her Mama anymore.
As a grown woman I understand that you never stop needing you mother. There are still plenty of days when I need my mom to bolster me, tell me things will be okay, know that she loves me. But, now that I’m someone else’s mom, it’s different. I know that she will always need me and, hopefully, want me around. But it will be in a much different way from now on. It will be harder for her to ask for the support she needs, and a kiss and pat on the head won’t fix the hurts that will soon start to come her way. Then, I’ll look back and yearn for sick days when we could snuggle on the couch with our favorite TV friends.
Now, all of this has made me sad again. So here’s the better part to end on a good note! Dora, the Wonder Pets, Olivia (which she still sometimes watches), Miffy and Little Bear are gone and I’ll miss them. But, I have never been so happy to usher out Oswald (I guess Fred Savage isn’t getting enough residuals off of The Wonder Years!) and Yo Gabba Gabba. There’s no love lost there. iCarly doesn’t know it, but her days are probably numbered, too.