Barbies and Being Sick
This is the 6th night my son has been sick. It is a virus, says the doctor. But 6 days of fever. 6 days of hobbits and wands. I feel sorry for him and for me, his working mother. Mostly him, though. What is it about childhood diseases? They last forever.
My mother ran a tight ship, but when we were sick all sorts of miraculous things happened: Hawaiian Punch delivered to us in bed, cool washcloths on our foreheads, Bewitched and Mary Tyler Moore during the daytime. But none of this made me feel better. I remember the nightmares especially. My barbie dolls rose up in their barbie house and walked over to my bed and stared directly into my eyes. It was horrifying. They were not warm, round people. They had sharp pointed heels on their shoes. They did not look like anyone I loved. They weren’t mine, actually. Our cousins had sent them to us and during daylight hours I was fascinated by them. Their bathing suits. Their barbie house. Their tulle and silk. Their ability to fit into their clothes without zippers getting tight. Finally, they had to be removed from my room, stored up in the attic. But I knew they were up there. I used to go look at them sometimes.
Years later, when I read Jung’s autobiography, he said that dolls are like little effigies. He tells some story about being compelled to bury a doll in a little box when he was a small boy and how he discovered that this is an impulse, shared by all peoples. Although I think I have that wrong. I can’t remember if it is dolls being buried. Or just boxes.
Probably, I should have buried those Barbies, as I can still sort of feel them upstairs, above my head.