Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Eighth Birthday

There was no doubt in my mind what I wanted for my birthday. A Chatty Cathy Doll.

If my parents could not give me a little sister or a big brother the least they could do was buy me a doll who could talk. I had seen the commercials. All I would have to do was pull a string and Chatty Cathy had a whole repertoire of sentences to say to me. 
My birthday arrived and I was up early. My parents greeted me with hugs, kisses, and a small wrapped box, not big enough for a Chatty Cathy. Carefully I pulled at the scotch tape as I slowly unwrapped the gift and wondered how I was going to hide my disappointment from my mother and father.

Inside the box was a small Alpine cottage and when, as instructed, I lifted the roof I saw a miniature dancing woman and heard a lilting tune.
Somewhere there is a home movie of me watching that figurine with a brave smile on my face. A few minutes later I told my parents that I needed to go to the bathroom.

I am now a grandmother with a granddaughter turning the same age I was on that birthday. Yet, after all these years, I still remember the confusion I felt as I escaped to the bathroom that morning. How could my parents have thought I would be happy with a stupid, little music box? Why did they ignore my dream? It could not be because they did not know what I wanted. Was I caught in a nightmare and would I soon awake to find a gift-wrapped Chatty Cathy waiting for me? I blinked back tears, washed my face, and tried to put a brave smile on my face. Even at that young age I knew as an only child I had a responsibility not to let my parents see how bitterly let down I felt.
When I reentered the living room, though, there was another box on the table. This one was definitely big enough to hold a Chatty Cathy. This time I did not unwrap carefully. I tore the shiny paper apart and was thrilled when I saw my new doll. There was no need to fake appreciation. I was ecstatic!
It is interesting that Chatty Cathy disappeared from my life within a year or two after I received her. I have no recollection if she broke and was trashed or donated to the yearly Hadassah rummage sale. On the other hand, the Alpine music box is still in my possession. It sits proudly on a shelf in what was my daughters’ room. Every once in a while someone opens its lid and the lilting tune fills the house.
I never knew what possessed my parents to give me two presents on that birthday so many years ago. Perhaps they knew I would soon tire of Chatty Cathy with her half a dozen statements and the music box would last a lifetime.
As we enter the Three Weeks prior to Tisha B’Av we fast and pray for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. As a loving Father, HaShem hears our requests. Just as my parents knew what was best for me when I was a child, I believe that HaShem knows what is best for His children. I believe, with all my heart, that He will send us the Moshiach and reestablish the Temple at the exact moment that is right for us. May it come speedily in our days.


Batya said...

beautiful post

Ester said...

Thank you, Batya