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Dear Barbie,

Break ups are never easy, and this one is really tough. Seeing your blue eyes for the last time as I snapped the Rubber Maid lid on your resting place made me feel pretty bummed. I’m really going to miss you.

I don’t want you to take the blame for the end of our nearly decade long relationship. It’s not you. It’s not even me, although I know I always complained about your clothes being all over the place and the Dream House being a mess and your Camper being parked in the middle of the basement. It’s just we don’t have enough time to commit to nurturing our relationship anymore with soccer and piano and horseback riding (the real kind, not the plastic kind.) I mean, we don’t even take baths at our house anymore, which used to be our quality time.

But I don’t want you to think that this has anything to do with your looks, which I know you’ve taken a lot of heat for the last few years. I have real-life friends that have teeny weeny waists and perfect boobs, long gorgeous hair, and perfectly made up faces. These women run marathons and do yoga and count calories, but they are so much more than that. They also volunteer at their kids’ schools and raise money for charity and hold the hands of their sick friends and give banana bread to their new neighbors. They are skinny and beautiful but also positive and strong. They are just like YO

Because I never needed you to be a body image role model for my kids. That’s my job, and I’m pretty good at it. Your job was to open up the imagination of my girls, and you did that and more. You helped my kids run a veterinary office, a school, and a clothing store. You enabled them to have elaborate fashion shows, pool parties and horse riding events. They played house and raised babies and had weddings on some days, and on others performed surgery, filled in cavities or piloted a plane to Disney. It was hours of fun.And you never complained. Not one time.

Not when you were strapped into the corvette with Cinderella Barbie and launched down a set of stairs. Not when you received a really bad hair cut that just couldn’t be fixed. Not even when you lost a foot due to a freak incident with a visiting dog. You were always there ready and willing to do whatever it took to make this relationship work with a smile on your face and a dream in your heart.

Life hasn’t been easy for you, either. You went through a very public divorce, enlisted in the military, were shamed in the media and even at age 50, you are still constantly compared to other dolls. But through it all you held your head high, kept those feet arched up and carried on.

I’m sorry, Barbie, but there’s no turning back now. Little girls always grow up, and unfortunately it’s time to move on. I already sold the Dream House (under market value, unfortunately), put the car, yacht and plane on Craig’s List, and sent your friends — Skipper, the Disney Barbies, and whoever those brunette girls were — to shack up at the Goodwill, where hopefully some new families will take them in. I even sent the Barbie jeep and scooter to a new home where some different little girls will get to enjoy them. It really is over.

But I want to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for teaching my kids that a fancy ball gown and cowboy boots are an appropriate outfit for any occasion. Thank you for going along with whatever story my girls created for you that day. And even though your clothes are slutty and your stilettos too high and your make up is over done and your boobs are just a little too perky for my particular taste, I’m thankful we could get a Barbie for whatever my kids wanted to be that day, albeit a soccer player, princess, surfer girl or doctor. I’m sorta glad we missed your drag queen phase, but I think even that would have been fun.

I want you to know that although I’m sending you away for a while to a place called the attic, your memory will always live in our minds and in our hearts. And I hope one day — if I am lucky enough — you’ll come back into our lives again when my daughters have daughters of their own. I will welcome you back into our home with open arms and maybe even a new environmentally friendly dream house. Because even though I know you’re just a doll, you’ve been so much more than that. You’ve been our ambassador to imagination and the purveyor of creativity in our home. And you’ve done your job well.

So long, Barbie. Until we meet again.

Love,
Me

 

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site parentingteensandtweens.com You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.

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