A view from my side.
Yesterday was Kid#4‘s birthday. Ex#3 invited me over for presents, cake and ice cream and photo ops. Naturally I accepted and had a really good time. It is also Ex#3’s and Kid#2‘s birthday as well. I know, it’s Ripley’s, I get it. Kid#2 was out of town, headed to a weekend music festival out of state. Ex#3 got a gift card from Kid#4. I had scheduled yesterday to be a rest day. No running. That put the real focus of the afternoon where it belonged…on Morgan.
Ex#3 is a bit picky about presents. I’ve been chastised in the past for not making the “right” choice when it comes to presents and I have been asked to only make purchases from the “official” wish list posted online. Such instructions given to me have almost 100% of the time made me completely ignore said wish list. This year was no different. I know my daughter and I know what 6 year olds like. After all, I’m not new at this, I have three other kids that were 6 once and I taught 1st and 2nd grade when I first started teaching.
As many 6 year olds are, Morgan loves lightning bugs. She loves to watch them. She loves to chase them. She loves to catch them. Her mother let her keep some in a jar one night with holes poked in the lid. Surely you remember that from your own youth, yes? Well, anyway, when she woke up the next morning, her lightning bugs weren’t doing so well. Short on air despite the holes in the lid, they were barely moving. A quick release of the lid and a dumping of the jar released them to the grass in the backyard. She told me she was very sad her lightning bugs felt bad and she wondered if there was a way she could keep some overnight that wouldn’t “make them so sick.”
Present #1 – The Critter Crate. A simple wooden crate front/back/bottom and a screen for sides and a top. Perfect of hanging on to a variety of critters caught in the yard. Lightning bugs, lady bugs, praying mantises, crickets, etc. As long as one is judicious in the number of critters captured and stored, they should be fine for an overnight visit. She couldn’t want to take it outside and actually did before eating cake and ice cream. She caught one lightning bug silly enough to be out and about before dusk and stored her in the crate. I encouraged her to let the bug go, under the auspices of teaching her how to release as well as how to capture, and she reluctantly did so. But not before extracting a promise from Ex#3 that she could go outside after dark and catch a few more.
Present #2 – Morgan has always been fascinated with music boxes. My mother has the “guts” of an old music box laying on an end table in her living room. Ever since Morgan was a toddler, she would pick up the player, hand it to the closest adult to get them to wind it up and let it play for her. Since she turned 3, my mother has given Morgan a music box for each birthday. This is her fourth and she loves it. She keeps them at my house and they are always one of the first things she goes to play with when she comes over. Two of her music boxes have “figures” that rotate as the music plays. One is a Unicorn. This year it is a fairy ballerina. She loved it. So much so she took it with her to her table while eating her cake and ice cream.
Present #3 was a stuffed giraffe that she had picked up in a store one afternoon. In addition to music boxes, she loves giraffes. This one was long and skinny, almost a comical giraffe. She seemed very happy with it nonetheless, hugging it and playing with it until her attention turned to her Critter Crate and her music box. She even set her giraffe in a chair in front of her music box so the giraffe could listen to the music and watch the ballerina twirl.
None of these presents were on the official “wish list.” But she loved each and every one of them. Her mother gave her the dress she’s wearing in the picture sitting down eating her ice cream and cake. She obviously liked the dress very much as well. These were presents that weren’t on a wish list. Presents that weren’t expected or pre-selected by anyone. These were presents that I knew she would enjoy and appreciate. If you know what’s in a person’s heart, you can always find something they will enjoy. And, if you are in their heart as well, that makes the present that much more special. And so it was this year for Morgan and me with Critter Crates and Music Boxes.