When the large, oak dining table arrived to our brick house on a cul de sac in in Indian Hills, a subdivision in Waxahachie, Texas, I couldn't wait to begin creating my Barbiesream house underneath. The legs reminded me of Corinthian columns and the slots beneath that held the extra leaves were ideal for a multi-level mansion, modeled after the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. At least that’s what I imagined in my head. I was delighted that our family got my great grandmother, MeeMaw Bassie’s table after her passing. I would spend hours interior designing the heck out of every nook and cranny, using different pieces from around our house. It was impossible to have family dinners at the table except for holidays and special occasions.
From a young age I was an avid watcher of All My Children, thanks to my Nanny, and this was the basis of the storylines that I created for Barbie and Ken, although my Barbie’s name was Sandy, and Ken was Jake. They had a beautiful love story filled with romance and exotic travels. They owned a Corvette, a Jeep and an RV. They enjoyed lounging by the above-ground pool, taking long walks through the artificial rose garden, and talking about their deep love for one another. Sandy loved getting dressed up for Jake, wearing peep toe heels, sultry outfits for date nights, and Jake loved taking care of Sandy and making her feel special by opening doors, buying her sweet surprises, and complimenting her regularly.
Life was fun and easy under that oak dining table. Little did I know how challenging the pursuit of love and partnership would eventually be in the real world. Sometimes I wonder if my Barbie dream house set me up for disappointment and a consistent longing to find the perfect love. I could control the storylines of Sandy and Jake, but for myself and the men I dated, it was impossible to control. On the other hand, I wonder if it actually taught me the value of not settling and to cherish the values of southern gentleman, and that my Jake was out there somewhere, waiting to find me, scoop me up, and drive off into the sunset.
This is the story of my journey to find love, to only in the end be found by that love. I call it the story of ladybugs.