I don’t get a lot of gifts. I didn’t as a child and I haven’t as an adult. I tell you that so you’ll know how precious the gift I’m going to tell you about really is to me.
Obviously, I’m a girl. Duh. I was a child in the 1960’s a time when stereotypical gender roles were still very much in place. Boys got baseball cards, BBguns, and sports equipment for Christmas and birthday gifts.
Girls got Barbies, Easy Bake Ovens, and board games like Mystery Date.
I hated all those girly-girly toys. Still do, to be truthful. Even back then I knew they were designed to keep girls in their places, hoping and dreaming of the perfect boy/man to come along and take care of us for eternity.
Gag me now.
I so did not buy into that dream. But that’s a blog for another day. Today’s is about the best gift I ever got. You can guess it wasn’t a Chatty Cathy doll, or a tea set.
When I was eight I asked Santa ( that’s right. I still believed in Santa at 8. Still do, in fact.) for a toy I’d seen advertised on Saturday mornings during the cartoon hours. It was aimed at the boy buying market but I didn’t care. I asked Santa that year for ROCK’EM SOCK’EM ROBOTS.
Lordy, I wanted that toy!!! I said a prayer every night that Santa would leave it for me. I was extra good around the house, doing my chores and even doing things I wasn’t asked to do just to score some brownie points with Old St. Nick.
Christmas morning came and….no robots. I think I opened a new outfit or two for the Barbie doll he’d brought me the year before – the one I NEVER played with, and some Barbie coloring books.
Devastated is too tame for how I felt. My mother asked me why I was so pissed ( and yes, she did say it like that to an 8 year old. Is it any wonder I am the way I am today?) I told her I’d asked Santa for Rock’em Sock’em Robots and couldn’t understand why I didn’t get it. I’d been good, did well in school, went to church. Did everything I was told and supposed to do.
Her explanation was very telling. She shrugged, took a puff of her cigarette and said, “‘Cause you’re a girl, not a boy. Santa doesn’t give boy toys to girls or girl toys to boys. That’s not right.”
Now, you’re probably wondering why I told you that story. Stick with me and you’ll understand why.
Flash forward 48 years. I’m sitting at dinner with my entire in-law family a few days before Christmas and we go around the table telling stories about Christmas’s of the past. My father-in-law asks me what the best gift I ever got was. I told him, instead, about the Rock’em Sock’em Robots debacle and how much I’d really wanted that toy and how upset I’d been when I didn’t get it. On to the next person for another story.
Christmas morning comes and we are spending it with my in-laws. I wake up and we all start to unwrap gifts. My husband hands me a huge box wrapped with a big red bow and a tag that said, “to Peg, from Santa”. Since I hadn’t asked for anything that year, I was in a quandary about what it could be. When I opened it I started bawling my eyes out. Yup – you guessed it. He’d given me the toy I’d always wanted. Apparently, after hearing the story I’d told a few nights before, he’d sent my brother-in-law to Toys R Us with instructions to get it for me.
Is it any wonder I love this man and have for over 30+ years?
Since this is a blog challenge, click on to any of these author sites to see what their favorite gifts have been. MFRWauthor