I must write and tell you that today, you made the lives of my three daughters, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, complete.
They are off their faces with joy.
Or, more specifically, a sort of superior we-told-you-so satisfaction. Some people might even say that Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are now treating me, their mama, with a certain amount of condescension. In fact, since we came away from viewing your exquisite exhibition of rag dolls at Joyce, my daughters have done little but glance at me sideways to throw me their expressions of patronising superiority. Mixed with nose-wrinkling contempt.
As a result, I am now left feeling more deflated than a punctured whoopee cushion.
I'm afraid I'm laying this at your door. You have taught them that mama was completely and utterly wrong. Yet more. That the three rag doll sisters, Vanessa, Diana and the other one (whose name I can't remember but who remains in England face down in a fabric box), are not what mama says: the Arseface dollies. No. They are creatures of captivating elegance.
Now, that last glance I just received from Squirrel possibly suggested that my daughters await only my public, formal retraction. To the effect that Vanessa, Diana, and the other one, are not home-made rag dolls resembling monster wreck creatures from the swamp but are, in fact, goddess spirits drawn from the skies. The first, unblemished daughters of Prometheus. Divinely created; possibly visiting us in their worldly form.
I have lost the power to argue otherwise. For the first time in their lives, my daughters know for sure that someone else looked into the soul of the rag dolly and saw past the sightless eyes, sewn on nose, and static lips. They know what someone else knows - instinctively, surely, passionately, madly, deeply, truly - that rag dolls are not mere fabric and stuffing. They are living creatures, who are us, who are life, love, and everything.
But something more important and profound took place too, today, when Shark, Squirrel and Tiger gazed upon your collection of hand stitched dolls (which I do confess are all incredibly beautiful). My children knew that someone else understood them. Someone, other than mama, knew their inner motives, heart-felt passions and daily pursuits.
I have lost my role. You are now their new prophet. They may seek to follow you. Everywhere.
This is going to cost me dearly. Just think, Andrew, what you have done, and what you have inspired. Now Shark, Squirrel and Tiger know their destinies. They can prove it, simply by pointing to you and what you have done. There will not be a single day or night that passes when it is not dolly this and dolly that. I will be handing down deep into my pockets to satisfy the thirst for buttons, bows, gold brocade, furry trimmings and more cotton thread.
I do not know whether I can thank you for that.
But I must look on life's bright side. So there is something for which I can thank you. You have taught my children that the most rewarding path to walk in life is your own. Possibly bonkers, probably obsessive, guided by inner conviction, and I'm betting on stubborn resistance to all those who try to pull you from your course.
Perhaps I can thank you for that. But think of me in my declining years. While you have made their lives complete, you have made mine impossible. The mama proved wrong. The mama who lost her powers. The mama who will be bankrupt by expensive fabric from the offcut bins.
The mama who now has to swallow her pride, publicly accept her humiliation and say that the Arseface dollies are sisters in souls, if not in looks, with the angelic creations who are the Kouklitas.
Yours etc., Grit.