Thursday, January 06, 2005

The eye of the beholder.

I was over at the Amazon site looking at toys, for some weird unexplainable reason, and for another weird unexplainable reason my memory flashed back again, as my memory has been doing for a long time now, to Belle's second Christmas. Or rather, the days preceding it.

She was 18 months old, her second Christmas. She'd been talking in complete sentences even in the womb, it seemed like, but she was only eighteen months old. Tiny. But old enough to be fascinated by all the lights, and window displays, and all of 'it.' Old enough to be aware that she should be getting something for Christmas from Santa Claus. (Yes, we played up all the fantasy for every holiday that we could. You imagination-less prigs will just have to foam at the mouth and deal with it.)

She was going to get a few small things, but not very much. Sigh. We were just plain broke. Without money. As in, my MIL was buying toilet paper for us. As in, I hid in the bedroom when the fuel oil truck delivered, because I couldn't pay him. Times were hard. You get the picture.

There was a big Woolworth's store downtown then, and in their basement was a wonderland of Christmas seasonals, and toys. And two whole aisles of toys were made up of those push-button displays.

I would carry Belle down the big staircase, and she could see the displays before we reached the bottom step. Her eyes would light up, and that 'expression' would cross her little face. It makes me tear up just to remember that expression. . . . .

It was the expression of wonder. Mothers will do almost anything to inspire that expression, but usually it had to be spontaneous. It couldn't be conjured. It came, when it came.

We would walk slowly up and down those aisles, and Belle would push one button at a time. Each little moving, twinkling showcase had to have its own beginning, middle, and end, before the next button could be pushed. It was her own rule. At her command, the dolls would twirl, and dance, and move their arms, and turn their heads, etc. With a gentle push of her tiny little finger, carousels would spin, and the little horses would go up and down. Some of the toys would even TALK to her. Yes, right to her. One glamorous Princess doll, especially. She was fascinated by that fancy Princess doll.

There wasn't a thing in that store that I could afford to buy, but I always walked out feeling like I'd gotten a fortune's worth of Christmas in that walkway of magic pushbuttons and Belle's expression.

On Christmas morning, Belle toddled into the living room and saw her tiny little doll, and her stocking, and her jumping frog. She picked up the doll and ran to me, and she said "Mommy, he brunged the one that TALKED to me!"

I looked at that simple little baby doll, and I remembered that magnificent glowing Princess doll in the showcase. I looked at Belle's face. And suddenly the little Christmas doll DID look just like the one in the showcase. Maybe, even grander.

I thought then, and I think now, that the eyes of a child see things as they really are in ways long lost to us.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:27 AM | |


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