The baby girl
is no longer a baby.
She turned 3 on Tuesday. (That’s her, above, in a photo session with her new Tinkerbell umbrella. I think she was showing me “melancholy”. But I’m not sure.)
We’re getting ready for her party, today. I’m putting together obscenely swollen loot bags for the guests. And then it hits me:
They’re buying her presents.
Sounds obvious. But lately, I’ve been desperately trying to rid myself, and ergo, this house, of things. And whether I like it or not, I’ll be bringing more things into the house tonight.
I’ve previously detailed the fact that I grew up in a racially homogeneous town. All white, except for a couple of Chinese folks who ran the cafe. And one other family, from India.
After all these years, I still don’t know how the hell they ended up in our town. Mr. & Mrs. C. were teachers. Their son Joe was born in Canada, but when it suited him, he’d trade on his minority status. Whenever a pick-up game of football started, Joe would always shout, “Hey! I get to be the quarterback! The black guy always gets to be the quarterback, and I’m the closest thing you’ve got!”
At any rate, one day in Grade 4, it was Mrs. C’s birthday. She came around to all the classrooms, Grade 1 to 6, and told us that in India, you don’t get presents on your birthday, you give them. (I have no idea if this is true, or if she was just wacky. But who was I to refuse a gift?) She gave us each a small bundle, wrapped in kelly green tissue paper. Inside was a little piece of chocolate, and a tortoiseshell letter opener. I’m pretty sure that at that age, I’d never received a piece of mail that would necessitate such a device, but I was enthralled.
I remember thinking the Indians had the right idea where birthdays were concerned.
I still do.
(Update: What I failed to take into account was that at 3, my kid’s friends are my friend’s kids. And my friends are awesome. Every single gift was perfectly suited to the girl, and the entire haul would have fit nicely into a kitchen sized garbage bag. Man, I like my friends.)