An Old Rag Doll and Family Love

An Old Rag Doll and Family Love

My father was a talented musician who composed music as complicated as the concerto he wrote to the poem, “How Do I Love Thee” for my mother. But the song I remember most is a song called “Old Rag Doll” that he wrote for a Christmas play when I was just a small child. When I saw a little girl on stage, sitting on a shelf in a toy store, and she sang this song, it made me cry. I learned about empathy in those moments.

For years, Dad would play the piano and we’d sing “Old Rag Doll” at holiday parties in our home. The song evokes an innocent longing, a longing I see in many people with TBI and in their families — a certain loneliness, coupled with a desire to feel whole and to belong to a stable family again. Picture a young girl, maybe second grade, dressed as a rag doll with bright red cheeks, singing these lyrics in a room full of busy shoppers all looking at other toys, but not at her:

Needless to say, Santa delivered a Raggedy Ann doll for Christmas the first year I heard that song. I felt a deep love for her. I loved her until her eyes fell out and her red yarn hair balled up into knots. She was part of my family. So were many of our friends growing up, kids who felt comfortable in our home, kids who sometimes didn’t feel like they belonged in their own homes.

For many of us, our families provide all the love and comfort we need, and for others, family is one special person, or a few close friends that feel more like family than the ones they were born into.

Reaching out feels good. Including people who may not have the anchor of family in their own lives enlarges and enriches your own family. My parents always had room for one more, and so do we.  If you want to open your world, open your heart and your front door. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men. Isn’t that what this season is all about? May your family love multiply over the holidays and all year through.

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Wonderful Rare. And perhaps song of any year. Vividly remember the play at Villlage School. And all the dolls in hoops!
Wow. Just reading the poem brought tears to my eyes, and a lump to my throat. Hugs to you and yours. Visiting with your family at your home in LI was always a treat. Your sister Pat's S-i-L, Cathy Waters