Baby Doll, My Friend, Was Blowin’ in the Wind

>> Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I didn’t mind the wind.

I thought I would. It’s very windy in Maui, especially on the Eastern side. Usually, the wind pushes me in directions I don’t want to go. It wants me to go that way when I want to go this way. I consider it a bully and most of the time a cold bully. But in Hawaii, I didn’t mind the wind. There, it was more like a playful child, warm and full of love that brought flowers to our feet and mischievously took them away again. So I didn’t mind.

But Samantha didn’t like the wind at first. Because nobody -- not even the wind -- puts Baby Doll in a corner.

No other object has soaked up more of Samantha’s essence than Baby Doll. She’s been dropped in the dirt, splattered with food, slobbered on, and torn. She’s been stuffed, re-stuffed, sewn and scrubbed. She sleeps with Samantha each night, plays with Samantha each day, and travels with us to and from school and work. There has been one and only one Baby Doll since Samantha was an infant -- she scornfully rejects any and all substitutes. Because of this, Baby Doll is somewhat like a third child but without the high food and clothing costs. Like a child of flesh and bone, we would never leave her at the mall or replace her if we lost her at the park. She is special.

Here’s a good measure of Baby Doll’s importance: when we leave, we may forget our cell phones, but not Baby Doll. The car may not have snacks or water, but Baby Doll is there. She’s more important than clean diapers, extra sweaters, and sunscreen. Basically, she’s the shit. (By the way, “being the shit” is just a phrase the young people use nowadays and it’s a good thing.)

Naturally, Baby Doll traveled with us to Maui.

As we waited for the shuttle bus to take us to our rental car, the wind was particularly fierce. Indeed, it was more like a warm child with Attention-Deficit Disorder. When it spotted the angelic Baby Doll, the wind tried to steal her from Samantha. As Samantha sat in her little red stroller, clutching Baby Doll and sucking her thumb, the wind suddenly ripped Baby Doll out of Samantha’s hands. She cried out, but the wind was clever and carried her voice away, too. It was the kind of wind that deafens the ears and blinds the eyes.

But Samantha is fierce, too, despite her innocent appearance. She’s a girl with serious lung capacity and a reservoir of anger that she often taps to get what she wants. Trapped in her stroller, helpless against the wind, she yelled as loud as she could. I finally heard her and was saddened to see her tortured face as she reached after Baby Doll, the wind pushing her against the corner wall of the building.

I hustled over, rescued Baby Doll and handed her to Samantha. There was no chance the wind could take Baby Doll, now -- Samantha is strong as well as loud. But she cried as she crushed Baby Doll in her arms, heartbroken at the thought of losing her stuffed pink friend in such a strange, new place. I breathed a sigh of relief and silently thanked all forces involved in Baby Doll's successful rescue -- Thank You for blowing Baby Doll towards the building and not the street, and Thank You for trapping Samantha in her stroller so she wouldn't be harmed during any heroic attempts to save Baby Doll. Because this could have ended badly on so many levels.

Samantha (and I) recovered the near-loss of Baby Doll and eventually the wind befriended us. When it was playful, the wind blew our napkins away, mussed my hair into knots, and doused us with ocean spray. When it was loving, the wind invigorated us on forest hikes, cooled us when the clouds were distant and the sun was hot, and surrounded us with Plumeria blossoms.

In fact, I became so fond of the wind that I had a strange thought as we packed to leave: is it possible to adopt the wind?

Restless Maui child, can I take you home with me? I miss you, already. We have orange blossoms for you to play with -- and plenty of napkins. But you must promise to leave Baby Doll alone. Trust me, you don’t want Samantha for an enemy. Like you, she is stronger than we can imagine.


Lunasea May 1, 2008 at 9:30 AM  

Oh geez, you had me really scared there for a minute. We have a baby doll, too, also named Baby Doll. I think I would cry if we lost him.

Great photo.

Michele May 1, 2008 at 12:17 PM  

Our baby doll is named Chloe : )

Dawn May 1, 2008 at 7:49 PM  

ahhh, I want to be wind-ed!

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