I was lying on the couch, not feeling all that well and found my eyes wandering around my small yet quaint one bedroom apartment, when my eyes fell upon Natalie. Natalie holds the title of Tara's First Baby Doll. I got her as a present for my 1st birthday and she's been with me ever since. For a doll that is 33 years old, she's held up wonderfully. Natalie has a plastic face and hands with "real" hair. Her body is a soft material. She has a sweet smile on her face and big brown eyes. The vast majority of my childhood memories contain Natalie. I remember carrying her around the house and having her beside me in bed. What is it about children and that first toy they latch onto?
I have every intention of keeping Natalie and passing her on to my own daughter. She's been part of my life for what seems like forever. Natalie moved everywhere with me, except for college. I wasn't allowed to take her to college with me, but that was okay because when I came home for holidays and breaks, she was there waiting for me. I shared all of my secrets with Natalie. If she were a real person, she'd have tons of dirt on me. I guess it's a good thing she's not a real person, but rather a doll.
Now, as a 34 year old, I don't really do much with Natalie. She sits in the lap of my winter bear that I received back in middle school around Christmas; Mr. Winter Bear sits in the rocking chair my Papa made me when I was very small. They sit together, staring at me. I think part of me thinks it would be completely odd for me to just sit on the couch with Natalie sitting in my lap. Of course, I could still tell her my secrets, absolutely, but I don't think I need her now the way I needed her when I was younger.
When I was a small child, we moved around a lot. My father was in the military and I think, through all of our moves, she was the one thing that remained the same. Especially as I got older, when the moves became harder for me to adjust to, Natalie was the constant in my life. I think my parents had a hard time understanding why the moves were difficult for me, which I can understand why. I was a very shy child and my parents were definitely not shy people. So, Natalie helped me adjust to those moves. She helped me feel not so alone. We always moved during the summers, so I would spend that first summer in the new city alone, without any friends until the school year began.
Natalie helped me through a lot of lonely moments in my life. There are days when I do wish she were real. She probably knows me better than anyone, even better than my own family. Sometimes I wish she would actually respond when I ask her a question. I could certainly use her advice with a lot of things. Since she is only a doll, I will just continue to tell her my secrets, knowing that she will always be the only person who truly knows and understands me.