"Daddy, daddy," said a bubbly little girl to the man who'd been waiting outside the school for her to arrive. He and the little girl were now walking ten paces in front of me as I made my way towards Northwest 23rd Avenue to do a little shopping.
"Daddy, we got to share today. It was great!"
"Really?" her father replied sweetly.
"Oh yeah. Sharing is great. It's like you only get half but you're with somebody who gets half too."
I wish I could have heard more of the conversation, but they were walking towards the father's car and I didn't want to look like some scary pedophile. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't captivated by this little girl. Her innocence was perfect. And it was beautiful. And she was beautiful.
Autumn 2004 was showing signs of giving way to winter. The sun was setting sooner, there was a chill in the air, and thoughts of the holidays were inescapable. One couldn't walk within fifty yards of a store without being bombarded by holiday displays complete with ribbons and bows, tacky lights, and boxes boxes boxes wrapped ever so neatly.
At that point, though I'd only been dating D. for a few months, I truly believed that Christmas would be our first of many together.
When we had the talk about how we'd celebrate the holiday, I had an idea.
"Let's make it an us Christmas. Let's not buy each other gifts... let's buy 'us' gifts. Let's buy stuff to share."
Part of my idea was based on the fact that D. was very short on money at the time, so the last thing I wanted her to do was worry about buying anything for me. I had her, so my holiday was complete as far as I was concerned. But also, I enjoyed the thought of our first Christmas together being a building block for years to come.
I bought us board games, including a challenging ancient Asian game called "Go", and a collection of silly fun games such as Chutes And Ladders - except that it was actually the original version called Snakes And Ladders. I thought of how sweet it would be to still be playing those games with her in twenty years or more.
Alas, that was to be our only Christmas together. Still, it couldn't have been more perfect.
I think we all start with a clean slate.
As newborns, we enter a world filled with hope and promise. Opportunities abound.
"What's this thing you're shoving into my mouth? It's a breast? Well I rather enjoy it. And this blanket is ever so soft. And I can poop whenever and wherever I want! This is the good life!"
As we grow older, we realize that we can't poop whenever or wherever we want. But that's fine. I can wait for a men's room...
And breasts don't get shoved into my mouth whenever I cry. Believe you me, I've tried! These days, I have to go on dates and prove my intentions before there are any boobies for me. But that's fine too.
Other realizations aren't so easy to accept.
When I was in first grade, I had three pieces of chocolate from a Halloween party. Another girl had none. Instead, she had two tootsie pops and a gumball. I offered to share my chocolate if she'd share a tootsie pop. She took the chocolate and shouted a mighty "Ha HA!" as she turned to triumphantly walk away with what was supposed to be my tootsie pop still in her clenched fist.
People are greedy.
I didn't take this as a lesson that all people were bad, or even that all girls were bad. I just understood that this one particular bitch was bad. Very bad.
No more chocolate for her.
...but for you?
I've learned that the world can be cold and cruel, but it can also be as warm as was my first blanket - if I surround myself with loving people that is.
I hope that several decades from now, the little girl I encountered today still shares as well.
I hope she surrounds herself with loving people too.
I hope she manages to keep some that innocence about her, too... There's far too little of it to go around...
I was recently tickled pink when a friend told me that one of the things that she just loves about me is the way that I have retained a childlike wonder and joy of discovery... I may not always exhibit it, but I like to think that I am still clinging to some of that innocence...
I loved your idea of the us Christmas... damn your briliance! :)::::: | February 3, 2006 11:14 PM
you don't know how timely this is for me to read this now. Thank you.::::: | February 4, 2006 9:03 AM
The sad thing is, there was more to what the little girl said. One more sentence that I overheard, and I swore I'd remember it so I could write about it later, but damn... I forgot the end.
It was something about how you actually end up better off when you share because two people get all of the stuff, "and two is more than one." Or something like that.
I was just so blown away by how profound her words were.
And of course, I've got no idea how old she really was. Six is a guess.::::: | February 4, 2006 10:21 AM
The "us" Christmas is such a perfect gift, especially when it includes travel! ;)
I loved this read, and the game, Go, is very challenging indeed.::::: | February 4, 2006 10:58 AM
I really enjoy the kids that are 'old souls'. The ones that seems to get it at an early age. Ones that are fun to interview with adult questions.
When I visit with one of the rare, I wonder what kind of kid I was.::::: | November 30, 2006 1:08 AM
Hey there! Just de-lurking. I miss that innocence and delight at the small things, but sometimes (rarely) I still get it. And boy, am I grateful when I do.
I also love your "us" Christmas idea. So thoughtful. Apparently she doesn't know what she's missing this holiday season.::::: | November 30, 2006 11:43 AM
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