Friday, August 1, 2014

A Story from My Childhood

My younger sister and I kind of lived our early life as a pair.  I was the elder (wiser) sister and she was the taller one.  Hence, everyone outside of our family either confused us or thought we were twins.

Every Christmas, she and I would get matching gifts from Santa in our stockings.  I'm sure it's a simple enough gesture to give two girls who spend most of their time together the same thing but different colors of that thing but somehow it always turned into a huge moral dilemma for us.  Or well, me.  I think my sister was just kind enough to go along with it.

The dilemma was this.  Often, I liked the gift my sister would get better - I either liked the color or the design - and would beg her to switch.  My sister, ever obliging (I don't think I ever forced her to switch) would exchange items with me and we'd happily cling to our new toys.  Then, the guilt would start to slip in - But Santa gave me the other one!  He probably specifically chose that color and design because he thought I'd like it!  I can't disappoint him and let him think that I'm ungrateful for the gift.  I'd look at the original gift and give my sister a look, "I feel bad for switching.  Maybe we should switch back."  She'd oblige me once again and switch back.  And then, the selfish part of me would jump in again and I'd switch back.  By the end of Christmas day, I would have no idea whose was whose.  Which was probably just fine, since we shared so many things anyway.

One year, for Christmas, my grandparents gave my sister and I identical huge stuffed Fievel dolls and I adored them.  (Fievel is my spirit animal)  Our parents decided to avoid the confusion of the toys by putting our initials on the tags.  As we sat in the den of our grandparents, I hugged my Fievel tight and decided to explore whether his big hat could come off.  In the process, I found that under the hat, on the top of the Fievel head, there was a rip in the seam and some stuffing was coming out.  I didn't want a faulty Fievel doll!.  Quickly, I called out, "Hey, let's switch Fievels!" My sister gave me a huge smile and reached to hand me her Fievel.  "Sure!"  But my parents protested, "We already put your sister's name on the tag."  My conscience started to tug at me, "I guess that's ok.  You know the real reason why I wanted to switch?  My Fievel has a split seam on his head and his stuffing is coming out."  My sister shrugged, "I would still switch with you."  I told it was ok and my parents laughed.

Retelling this story, I'm realizing a few things.  (1) My sister was far too kind to me.  (2) I have an overactive conscience so I'm guessing I never really took too much advantage of her kindness.  (3) That Fievel doll was awesome, despite his imperfections.  

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