Christmas Day, 1998. I was five years old. My parents surprised me with a HUGE Lego set! It was a full on mega mall with shops and balconies and benches and a fountain! AND palm trees! AND a jeep!!
I didn’t ask for it, didn’t even know it existed.
I LOVE SURPRISES
I had a ball piecing it all together and putting the stickers where they belonged.
It was one of those moments where I knew for certain that I was the luckiest girl in the world.
But the very BEST part of this Lego set was the little girl minifigure that it came with. She was not your average minifigure. As soon as I saw her adorable little peach, noseless face painted with bright blue eyes and a tiny pink mouth, I knew this was the most perfect doll I’d ever seen. And she was mine.
She had REAL HAIR that I could braid or put in a ponytail! She also came with two dresses, one for parties (pink of course) and one for business ventures (strong independent woman of course). She was constantly bending over to touch her toes. So flexible! And her legs didn’t pop off like most minifigures, her clothes went on over her head, just like mine!
I don’t know if you have ever felt what it’s like to have a doll that you connect with. Maybe you’d understand if you read A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Just like Emily, this was the doll that understood me. She was small enough to put in my pocket but her heart was so, so big. When I played with her and built her world with Legos, I transferred my soul into her tiny plastic body where I could have every adventure imaginable. When she put that party dress on, I was the one who felt the joyful anticipation of the coming celebration. I was the one who felt like a princess.
Last year I found out that she is not actually a Lego minifigure—that my frugal parents had bought me a Mega Bloks set.
My Lego enthusiast friend was quick to point this out to me when we decided to get creative with my highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system one unsuspecting day.
My favorite childhood toy was a cheap knock-off? The gift that began my life long love of Legos was not even a Lego!
That certainly answered a lot of questions:
Why she could never stay standing upright.
Why her face wasn’t yellow and she had real fake hair.
Why her legs couldn’t pop off.
Not gonna lie, I was crushed initially.
But when the Mega Blok purge from the Lego bin began,
I looked at her face.