Unpackaging the Present

In the middle of dinner the other night, my four year old daughter spontaneously asked for a ballerina toy that made music. I knew right then and there that it was time to do two things:

Time to give her the ballerina music box that I had forgotten to give her for her birthday. And time to start this blog. There have been many times when I thought it was time to start this blog, but I’ll get to that later. For now, let’s just start with that music box…

Music Box

It was the first thing (among many) that I had gotten her for her birthday in August, but then I hid it up in a closet and completely forgot about it. When I came across it a few weeks later I decided it would make a great Christmas present and just left it there.

But here she was, with a dreamy look in her eye asking for the first time for this very thing. A thing that we’d never talked about before. So I ran upstairs and brought it down to her.

It is hands-down the best gift-giving decision I have ever made. She was in absolute awe at this rapid manifestation of her desires. She was so grateful and joyful. She said “thank you” authentically and repeatedly. It was from the heart – both the giving and the receiving. And it was meaningful. It feels like it is one of those memories she’ll keep forever.

And here’s the thing – the ballerina music box is something I’ve wanted to give her for awhile now…

I will never forget staring at my ballerina spinning around and around in the days surrounding my mother’s suicide. Okay, so I just realised it wasn’t even mine – it was the babysitter’s daughter’s. But you get the idea… Life with our drug addicted mother had spun into entropy and reality was momentarily suspended by this hypnotic pink tutu. We were abandoned.

I was five and my sister was was three. We had been dropped off at a trailer with these people for what seemed like a week, but it was probably just a couple of days. I watched that ballerina for a long time – she was so lovely and so oblivious. I knew that something big had happened. I even started to to worry that my mother was dead. It was going to be a painful and fresh start… Fortunately our dad was on his way to get us. My knight-in-shining armor driving from another state in his mother’s big white Buick would redeem himself from having left us the year before – one year to the day to be exact…

So after blowing out my birthday candles and wishing really hard for two years, my dad got sober and got married again. I got a new mother who took me to ballet classes and tried hard to make my life really nice so I could forget that the first 7 years ever happened. I really liked spinning and jumping and performing for an audience. Dancing helped me relieve a lot of stress and caused me some new stress… It became an obsession on which I attempted to build a “career”. I also went to a lot of therapy for the stuff that the dancing couldn’t fix. Meditation, supplements and a healthy diet seem to help with what the dancing and the therapy haven’t fixed. Then again, I don’t really dance enough anymore.

Watching my daughter become mesmerized by that music box actually woke me up. And so even though it might make more sense to get myself into the studio, I’m finally starting this blog.

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