Outcomes Offered

■ Acceptance

Once there was a doll, a very beautiful doll by the name of Pollyanna Priscilla Ponsenbury the Third. Pollyanna Priscilla Ponsenbury the Third was one of a kind, a specially made doll that any collector of beautiful dolls would have loved to own—except, it seemed to Pollyanna Priscilla Ponsenbury the Third, her current owners. As a result, poor Pollyanna Priscilla Ponsenbury the Third didn't think of herself as being special. In fact, she thought of herself as plain old Polly the dolly.

One day Polly the dolly found herself in an auction. Do you know what that is? You might have seen auctions on TV where several people want to own the same thing and they each offer more money until the highest offer is accepted.

Polly didn't really understand how she had come to be in this position and several times wondered if there was something she had done to cause her to be here. Somehow the auction didn't feel right, but there was nothing Polly could do to prevent what was happening, and that didn't feel very good either.

On one side of the room was a man who was bidding for Polly the dolly. He appeared to be a nice, kindly man who seemed to truly love her and to want her to be in his home with him. On the other side ofthe room was a woman who was also bidding for Polly. She, too, seemed nice and kindly and was equally determined to have Polly the dolly in her house with her. As they each made their bids it was almost as though Polly could hear them saying, "Come and live with me. I'll take care of you. I'll look after you. I want you in my home." If a doll could look sad, then poor little Polly certainly would have looked sad . . . because that was the way she felt. She didn't like being caught in the middle, not knowing which home to live in, not feeling she had much choice, and not really wanting to make that choice even if she had it.

As the man bid on one side and the woman bid on the other, Polly the dolly began to think of alternatives. Wouldn't it be nice, she found herself thinking, if they got together and I could live with both of them. If that wasn't going to happen, maybe I could live with one part of the time and the other for part of the time. Maybe there is a way for both of them to be happy.

The man became louder in his bidding. The woman became more desperate in hers. Polly the dolly began to think it might be better if she fell off the shelf where she was displayed. If she was cracked or broken, maybe the fighting for her might stop. Then she realized that, if that happened, no one would be happy, not even Polly herself.

Why was the man getting so loud and the woman so desperate, she wondered. Was it because each of them loved her so much that they thought they could be happy only if she was solely theirs? As Polly thought about them loving her and wanting her, she began to feel better. No matter who won and no matter who she went to live with, there was something that would remain unchanged: The man and woman were both bidding because they wanted Polly, because she was special and unique, because she was loved and valued.

Whatever happened in the auction room that day, or in the days before, or the days that followed, Polly the dolly knew she was—and would always remain—special. Sometimes she forgot it, but in those times she found it helpful to remind herself, They might not agree, but they do love me. Yes, she could be loved and valued, and somehow it helped to remind herself of that. She felt some pride in the fact that she was Pollyanna Priscilla Ponsenbury the Third, and comfort in the fact that she was Polly the dolly—but more important, she thought, it felt good just to be herself.

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