Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday and an early Happy Mother's Day



Today, my beautiful, sweet mother is 76 years young. She is my hero and my rock. She gave me my love for reading and if I can be half the mother that she has been, my daughter will be very blessed.  I thought I would share my favorite childhood memory with you in her honor:



I was four years old. Every Thursday was what my parents referred to as grocery day. They still call it that, though it has since moved to Wednesdays. Before we would get our groceries at the Air Force Base Commissary, we would always stop by the BX, which was the base exchange. On this particular Thursday, as we turned down an aisle, I saw her. She was the most beautiful baby doll I had ever seen. Chestnut brown curls, big brown eyes that really blinked, and rosy cheeks. I was smitten. Even though she was in a huge box, I picked her up and showed my mother my own big, blinking brown eyes. Mom agreed the doll was beautiful and looked her over, but she faltered when she saw the price. $26.00 for a doll in the 70’s was outrageous and way more than my blue collar parents, who had a budget to adhere to, could afford. I was raised to know better than to ask, especially when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas, so I understood owning this doll wasn’t a reality. I did, however, ask if I could just carry her in her box while we shopped. So I lugged that box down every single aisle while Mom loaded our buggy with the usual weekly necessities. When it was time to check out, I put the dolly back on the aisle she belonged on, bid her goodbye, and told her I would see her next week.


And I did. Actually, for many weeks. Every Thursday, it became routine. I would rush to her aisle, pick her up, and carry her while we shopped. At four years old, I had no idea I was breaking my mother’s heart. I didn’t know that she longed to buy me that doll more than anything else in the world. I was just happy to have my weekly visits. The next Thursday, after my visit with the baby doll, whose name was Puddin’(which I thought was the BEST name in the world for reasons only a four-year-old could explain), we finished our grocery day and headed home. While my parents unloaded the grocery bags and shared some hushed whispering, I became lost in a favorite cartoon. A half-hour later, I heard a car pull up. Excited over unexpected company, I raced to the door… but it was my mom’s car pulling up. Where had she gone? And why didn’t she tell me she was leaving? I instantly became terrified that something was wrong. My dad opened the door and told me to go see if she needed help with anything. As I approached the car, my fears were alleviated when I saw her beaming. I reached the car door as she opened it, and then, she placed the most wonderful doll in the world in my arms. I burst into tears. I may have only been a little child, but I knew the enormity of the gift I had been given, and it was more than just a doll… it was a symbol of my parents’ love and a preview of what they were willing to sacrifice for me, their little girl.

I was twenty-three years old. I was renting my very first house on the other side of town. On my own for the first time in my life, I felt so grown-up and so independent. I loved that little house, and decorating it became my number one priority and a bit of an obsession. An older lady that I worked with, who only lived a few streets away, asked to come by and see my new house. She brought her friend with her, and, to my delight, they ooooed and aaaahed their way through my little home, complimenting every arrangement of furniture or d├ęcor we passed. When we came to my extra bedroom that held my childhood furniture, a few stuffed animals, and, of course, the most wonderful baby doll in the world, I told them the story of Puddin’ just as I have told you. My friend’s friend asked if she could hold her - see her more closely. I obliged, and she immediately turned her over and checked the back of my doll’s neck. Before I could ask, she remarked, “I thought so!” She then informed me that what I had in my possession was a Madame Alexander doll. I nodded like I knew exactly what that meant - I had no clue. She offered me a very large sum of money right then and there. I was only twenty-three. Every penny I earned went towards my new rent, utilities, and gas money. At that moment, I had exactly eighty-three cents in my bank account. I beamed at this woman and told her, “No, thank you. This doll is priceless.”

I am now in my thirties. I have been happily married for fifteen years. Fortunately, I have more than eighty-three cents in my checking account, and I have long ago put away childish things. Except for one: the most wonderful doll in the world now belongs to the most wonderful little girl in the world. My daughter adores Puddin’ and only gently handles her on rare occasions. Puddin’ is missing a bit of hair from too many brushings, and she has a few scars from too much cuddling, but, when I look at her, I don't see an old childhood toy... I only see one thing: a mother’s love for her little girl.




My doll-themed 7th birthday party (that's me and Puddin' in the front). All the little girls brought their favorite dolls, and everyone was given awards, like Best Dressed, Most Popular, Newest, Oldest, etc. Want to take a wild guess whose doll won Most Loved?

25 comments:

  1. Aww Chele, You just made me cry. What a beautiful story. So sweet that Mom & Dad would do that - and that you would keep Puddin' for so many years.
    You inspire me every day and I know you get that from the 'rents!
    Mom & Dad are total awesomesauce, hence they blessed you with the same qualities.

    Happy Birthday Mom and Happy Mother's Day. Bless you for bringing my beautiful 'sister' into he world.

    Chele, I love ya kid! :D:D xoxo

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    1. My sweet Gothic Angel, you inspire me more than you will ever know! Thank you for your kind words and all the support you give me. Love you tons!! xoxoxo

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  2. What a lovely post, Michele! That is such a beautiful, heart-warming story! And now I know how you got to be such a beautiful soul!

    Thanks for sharing! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the beautiful woman who gave you to us! :D

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    1. Jen!! Now you're making me cry the happy tears! That is such a sweet thing to say. I sure hope I can live up to such high praise. Mwah!!

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  3. ohmahgah this beautiful memory makes me cry every time. You are an amazing storyteller, and an amazing mother! I love you with all of my heart, and now must text me some grandberries! <3 xoxoxo

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    1. Thank you, darling girl for encouraging me to share this story. Thank you for the lovely compliments. I love you with all my heart!! Mwah!!! <3 <3 <3

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  4. Dang it, Chele - you made me have to pull out the tissues. What a GREAT story! <3

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    1. Awwww, I'm sorry I made you reach for the tissues. You should have seen me trying to write this, and remembering that day. It's a wonder I didn't ruin my laptop! ;D Thank you so much for reading <3

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  5. I am brushing away my tears. What a beautiful story, Chele. I love it. Such a simple thing. It is so wonderful that all these years later you still have that doll. I am hoping everything is well. Hugs to you my friend. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Heidi! We should know something Friday. Hugs to you! <3

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  6. Awww! You guys made ME cry with these sweet, beautiful comments! I love you all! Thank you so much for making Mom's birthday so special!

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  7. You're mom sounds fabulous. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story about her love for you and "Puddin", of course.

    Best,

    KO

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    1. She's really amazing, Kathy! Thank you so much for taking time to read my post. <3

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  8. That is so sweet & beautiful!! Those of us who have such wonderful parents should never take it for granted! They are few & far between these days! Happy Birthday to your Mom & God bless both of you! <3

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    1. Aww, thank you, Jackie! God bless you and your family, too!

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  9. I was feeling so grumpy today and then you put a smile on my face! What a beautiful story Michele! Thanks for sharing it with us. I feel the urge to call my mother now and have a good long chat with her. :)

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    1. That made my day, Sam! I hope you and your mother had a great convo! Mwah!

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing, Michele! I gave my daughter the exact same thing, the doll that meant everything to me while I was growing up (that's a story for another day) and, even though she doesn't really care for dolls, she loves it very much.

    You made me cry, but in a very good way. I needed something like this after a long week. Thanks again! <3 <3

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    1. I hope I get to hear your story, Maja! I love that you held on to your favorite doll and gave it to your little one. I know she will cherish it just like my Katertot cherishes Puddin'! <3 you!

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  11. This was such a beautiful story!!!! It is great that you shared it with us, I loved it. That is so special to have something that meaningful and priceless. I wish I had something that special from my childhood. I love that you gave it to Katertot. It sounds like a very loved doll. You have a great family and a great mother and I hope she had a fantastic birthday. You are also a great mother :) <3 Great post love and very meaningful and special. <3

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    1. Thank you, love! That just touched my heart! You are too sweet! Love you!

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  12. Very very beautiful! I just happened upon your lovely blog and instantly wanted to explore. This first post which I read has endeared me to your blog. Puddin is very very beautiful indeed! I was just reminded of my 'cool Cassidy' from my childhood.

    Cheers :)

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    1. Aww, thank you! I've heard of Cool Cassidy! Thanks so much for stopping by. ;D

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  13. What a sweet story! :) And I love the picture!

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