One of Those Moments, frozen for all Eternity in my mind, is the one where Myriam fell in love for the first time. It was a friend's birthday, and said friend was opening mountains of presents, to an audience of thousands, and then casually tossing them over her shoulder as she moved onto the next parcel.
One of the discarded gifts was was a Mermaid Barbie.
From that moment, for Mym, the party was over. For the rest of the afternoon all she had eyes for was that Barbie. She sat with the box, staring at the doll inside, not blinking, for about 3 hours. She never once asked to take it out of the box, because she knew it wasn't hers. She never said a word. She missed the food, the games, everything. She was gone. I sat quietly next to her, not wanting to break the spell and trying not to cry, as I prayed to the Universe for a way to get her one without starving us both to death. Any opinion about appropriate toys for kids, feminist values, or any other preconceived notion of parenting I had ever possessed, melted away to nothing. I will never forget the look on her face.
I blew the budget sky high to buy Mermaid Barbie for her 3rd birthday, which was only a few weeks later. I have no memory of the baked beans we probably lived on for awhile, which goes to show how little that really mattered. I probably would have killed someone, if necessary, to get it.
What I do remember is her and the Mermaid Barbie. The one that she was invited to take out of the box and play with, on her birthday. And bath with (Mermaid Barbie magically changed colour in hot water). And sleep with. And everything else with. They were inseparable for a Very Long Time.
She had other Barbies, over the years, as our circumstances changed, and Barbies became more affordable. But none ever mattered more than this one. Mym never cut Mermaid Barbie's hair, painted her face or pulled off her legs, like the others, and Mermaid Barbie, not surprisingly, was the only one to survive.
I still have her, of course. She sits on my bath, for easy access should I ever need to grab her as I flee a burning-down house. Strangely, I can't look at Mermaid Barbie without my eyes inexplicably leaking, as thyroidal eyes are wont to do. For purely clinical reasons, you understand.