What happens when a precious Bitty Baby™ gets passed down through the years?
Find out how one family’s treasured doll is bringing joy to each generation.
This Christmas topped every Christmas before it. Of course I have some beautiful and sentimental memories of opening presents and being with my family as a child, but this year was different.
A few months before the holidays, I was talking to my mom about how I wanted my two-year-old daughter Reese to have her very own baby doll. "You know we still have your American Girl Bitty Baby here at the house?" she reminded me. I had actually forgotten, and I got so excited. "She has one eye that won't open though, so maybe I could send her to their hospital to get repaired." I was so excited and told my husband how much this meant to me— my daughter was going to inherit my Bitty Baby! I couldn't wait to see her face Christmas morning.
My mom contacted American Girl and made the arrangements to ship her to their store (a.k.a., Doll Hospital) to have an eye replacement. A few weeks later she had a rectangular package on her front steps. My mom was so excited to show me the doll when we arrived for Christmas break. "I cried like a baby when I opened this box," she told me. "I sobbed to your dad, 'This is Ashley's childhood that I'm holding!'" I carefully opened the package and there she was, my Bitty Baby, wearing a beautiful hospital gown and a little card with her new name on it: Lizzie.
I received Bitty Baby when I was four years old. I remember her well, but I don't remember what I named or called her. Before my mom sent her to the hospital, she told me she needed a name for them to use. I decided on Lizzie because my mom's nickname for me was always Liz; I actually always wished my name was Elizabeth! Naming Bitty Baby Lizzie just seemed to fit.
Bitty Baby went with me everywhere and oh how I adored dressing her up, changing her outfits, and caring for her like she was my very own real baby. She slept with me, rode in the car with me, she went on walks outdoors with me. How we managed to keep her in the almost-mint condition that she currently is, that's beyond me. My mom was even able to keep the pajamas that she came to me in, in such a clean state.
I tucked Bitty Baby back into the box so that my daughter wouldn't accidentally find her. Once our kids were in bed for the night on Christmas Eve, my husband and I finally got to lay out our surprise gifts for them. We got Reese a small white high-chair, so I gently set Lizzie upright in it, still in her hospital gown. My parents bought her a white baby bassinet so she had quite the pair of baby doll necessities! I think it was the most excited I've ever been in anticipation for Christmas morning. Once the milk and cookies were in the center of our dining room table, we turned the lights off and eagerly got into bed, knowing we would be woken soon by a very excited two-year-old.
The next morning, Christmas, was the most magical day I experienced as a mother. My daughter could not have been more thrilled with her new baby. I read her the name on the card, and Reese excitedly hugged her and said, “Hi, Lizzie!” Since then, Lizzie hasn’t left her side. Every nap and night she finds her to put Bitty Baby in her crib. She has tea parties with her, rocks her, sings to her, feeds her, and cuddles with her. Reese has turned into a mini Mama and it has helped form such a gentle spirit within her.
What a blessing this memory has been for me and even for my mother; a twenty-something-year-old baby doll that will live forever in the hearts of three generations. Who knows, maybe Reese will someday be able to pass Lizzie down, too!
Written by Ashley Glass