Ryan Heller
I remember the day I first got a Barbie Doll. Holy hell that was all I wanted as a wee little 5 year old. Much to my fathers dismay, his son needed a Barbie Doll like the world was ending. Even at that age I was fixated on things to make me feel whole. I would get obsessed with the idea of something until I had it and realized it wasn’t enough. But Barbie...Barbie was the shit. Barbie was everything to me. It was who I wanted to be, what I latched onto and identified with.

My dad is an athlete at heart. I remember him playing basketball when I was a kid. He coached a t-ball league I had to join, coached a basketball team I also had to join. I remember him playing tennis, golf and watching football so disturbingly engrossed in a game that you would think the television set had just raped my mother sideways and was getting ready for round two. He makes stuff out of wood, loves tools and landscaping. And oddly enough watches HGTV religiously, has a keen eye for decorating and makes a mean floral arrangement. But that’s beside the point.

You could only imagine the horror and pain my father must have felt the day he finally gave in and went to the toy store to buy his son a Barbie.

“Hello sir, are you looking for anything in particular?”
“A Barbie doll.”
“Aw how sweet, what kind of Barbie does your daughter want?”

Without a shadow of a doubt do I know that my mom had pretty much everything to do with him coming around to actually getting that doll for his son.

I remember coming out of daycare at Pembroke Lakes Academy and getting into my dad’s car only to find a Barbie Doll in her oversized pink box sitting on the passenger seat. My little fingers couldn’t rip that cardboard chamber open fast enough. The plastic straps that kept her locked in the box were torn out and Barbie was released into my overly eager little hands.

I had no idea at the time what a major thing that was for my father to do for me. How difficult that must have been for him to put aside absolutely everything he wanted for his son. The idea that I would be a star athlete one day, that what he expected from having a son was all being taken from him with each gasp of excitement that escaped my mouth as I began to play with my new Barbie all the way home.

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