Following an Inner Star

Thoughts from Dr. Joe by Dr. Joe Puglia

My friends, proceed with caution. This is a dark story and I wish you never suffer such a fate. But, you protest; where is there ecstasy without pain. Hmm!

I shouldda been suspicious when Sabine and Simone grabbed their American Girl Dolls as we headed from Springfield, Illinois to Chicago. But I'd been lulled into a sense of complacency. I shouldda remembered what could happen if you don't keep your nose to the wind and your eye on the ridgeline.

Let me tell you my woeful tale.

So we wuz headin' to Chicago; and Chicago's my kind of town. Lived there in '73 just after I left the Marines. As we got closer, I was sooo excited I could just spit. I was anxious to show Kaitzer and the girls some of my old haunts. I thought we'd see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, get some dish pizza at Gino's, and maybe I'd show 'em the bar on the South Side where me and my Marine buddies "rearranged the brain housing" of some local toughs. I was a lot faster then.

As we exited Lake Shore Drive, Kaitzer remarked, "You didn't forget that we have reservations at the American Girl Dolls Place for a show and tea."

My face lost all color, my hands turned white, my eyes dilated and deep within my sub-conscious, I exploded. Noooooooooooo.

Yeah, I forgot! But naturally I said, "Kaitzer, of course I didn't forget." My nose grew an inch.

I had read somewhere in the teachings of Buddha that to find the road to inner peace, one must accept his fate. So I accepted it. It didn't work. I soooo love the Cubbies.

I knew I had one shot, so I'd better make it good. "Girls," I said with the intonation of a used car salesman, "Wouldn't you like to see the Cubs?" Sabine answers, "Daddy we can go to the zoo anytime, but this is our special day."

At that moment, I knew that all was lost.

I again decided to embrace my fate. This time as I stared into the rear view mirror I saw my girls' faces gleam with the excitement of their upcoming American Girl experience. I knew that I had seen Nirvana.

As we entered the American Girl Doll Place, I saw scores of little girls, moms, and grandmas lovingly holding their dolls. A childlike wonder filled their eyes. Excitedly, they had found the Promised Land.

Suddenly, it hit me like a southpaw from Philly. I've seen the Cubs before, but I've never seen this.

I first learned about American Girl Dolls through the Women's Guild of Children's Hospital. The Guild sponsors a fashion show and tea. The proceeds help the hospital. Many La Cañada moms are prominent members of the Guild. La Cañada girls attend this function en force, and are avid collectors of American Girl Dolls.

Kaitzer and the girls went to the show and I got lost in this wonderland of make believe and magic. Girls of all ages explored three floors of dolls, clothing, and accessories. But there was something more to this phenomenon. I would find it and then head to Lake Michigan to write my thoughts.

I found the Zen inscribed on a wall near the elevators. It read, "You are on an amazing journey. You are finding who you are! Your beauty inside and out shines through you! You are an American Girl, following your inner star."

Yeah, that's it. I headed to the lake.

The emerging identity of pre-adolescent girls is profound. The life of a child is indeed a journey. American Girl Dolls lead the way by the example they set navigating through life's perplexities; taking little girls through the historical eras they represent. Through her doll's history, a child can learn strength, core values, life skills and, ultimately, that girls can do anything.

Tea was most elegant. Their dolls, Marisol and Felicity, accompanied us with their own chairs and tea service.

The day was over but not before we mortgaged our house for doll clothes and accessories. As we headed back that evening we drove past Wrigley Field. The game was over hours earlier and I didn't even know who won. For some reason it was no longer important. I glanced in the rear view mirror. My girls, radiating the innocence and beauty of childhood, were fast asleep clutching their dolls, following their inner star.

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