Out of the Mouths of Babes

5 years ago

Some of my earliest memories involve sitting around the Christmas tree: shaking boxes, counting presents, Dad reading the Christmas story from the Bible, racing cars around the tree, waking up in the wee hours of the morning to see the loot, falling asleep at noon exhausted and surrounded by gifts. The list goes on and on. But these are intangibles, the true beauty of Christmas.

By revealing my first tangible gift I'll be revealing the rotten part of me. Please excuse my children's influence over my choice of words, but sometimes kids are just plain rotten. My mother always says kids let down their guard around their mom because they know she loves them unconditionally. I'd like to think the good children of the world are insecure while my stinkers sweet angels are confident, strong young women who know the depths of their mother's love.

Back to my story... my father rarely bought Christmas gifts. He worked long hours providing for his family, and thus for our Christmas, but the burden of shopping, wrapping, choosing fell to my mother. Occasionally, and the reasons were always murky, Dad decided to go shopping. I'll never forget his foray into Barbies.

My dad was the youngest of six kids, from very humble beginnings. Although he wanted the best for us, I think it was always hard for him not to see us as, well, ingrates. We had more than he could ever have imagined as a child.

One year, I must have been eight or so, Dad bought me a Barbie set. In his mind it must have been a deal. The 12" doll came with at least twenty outfits and loads of accessories. On Christmas Eve, after coming home from church, we were allowed to open one present each. We could choose anything we wanted. As kids do, we'd find the biggest box we could. I was intrigued by the size of the box and the unusual "from Dad" sticker.

I unwrapped it slowly, savoring my moment in the spotlight. I sat for a moment looking at the bounty.

Dad: "So what do you think?"
(note: Why do parents do this? Isn't it the equivalent of, "Do I look fat in this dress?")

Me: "She'll make a great maid."

In my defense, the off-brand barbie doll did come with a broom, apron, and other accessories leading me to this conclusion. Dad left the room, mumbling ingrate under his breath. I played and played with that doll, loved her even, but she was always the maid in our Barbie house.

Such a special memory for me is now a great story my dad loves to tell my kids when I accuse them of being rotten. I guess the apples didn't fall far from the tree.

What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?


Tia Silverthorne Bach

Co-author, Depression Cookies



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