I’m sitting at my computer, Henley looks over my shoulder and sees an advertisement for an animated unicorn toy. Unicorns are all the rage for four year olds if you didn’t know. It’s $79 and she immediately says she needs it so much, like right now! I start trying to figure out for which occasion I could get this for her---Easter is all I got. We don’t typically get them gifts like this for Easter but if not then, when, her birthday and Christmas just passed.
A few days pass by. She hasn’t mentioned the unicorn but I’m still thinking of it, thinking of how excited she would be if I got it for her. She doesn’t need a unicorn. Why do I feel the need to get this for her? On Easter morning if she awakes to a basket full of candy-filled eggs and sidewalk chalk she will be just as thrilled. Will she look back and think of the unicorn toy she never got? What do I remember from being a little girl myself?
When I was a little girl I had a best friend that I was inseparable from. We had sleepovers and made friendship bracelets. We went to church together and even lived in the same neighborhood.
When I was a little girl I loved being outside. I would “paint” on the driveway at my papa’s house with water. I’d help him around the yard and pick oranges from the orange trees. I would make stinky mud pies with my brother. I would give concerts in my backyard, singing whatever tune was blaring from my mini cassette tape player, most likely Manic Monday.
When I was a little girl I remember being so excited to open a brand new box of crayons and a pack of colorful construction paper. I would make paper chains and color for hours with my mom and siblings.
When I was a little girl I remember having homemade cakes, made by my mom every year on my birthday, my favorite was a chocolate one that had pink ballet slippers on it.
When I was a little girl I remember eating pink heart shaped waffles with strawberries on Valentine’s morning and green shamrock waffles on St. Patrick's day.
When I was a little girl I loved writing in my journal or diary. I loved creating stories with illustrations. My characters usually were named Tiffany or Stacy and always had great friends, sometimes they even had a little sister just like me.
When I was a little girl I felt loved and taken care of. I was happy. I don’t remember if I had the latest and greatest toys, I assume not since we weren’t the most well off. I don’t remember taking elaborate trips or expensive vacations. I didn’t have the latest name brand shoes or clothes. I look back and remember being happy. I remember fighting with my siblings on long road trips to Georgia or North Carolina, taking special care to annoy my older brother. I remember stopping at rest stops to eat food my mother had packed, typically sandwiches or fried chicken. I remember rolling down small hills outside of our hotel room and catching fireflies.
In this world we live in, this world of more, we can easily get caught up with always wanting more. I myself am extremely guilty of this and have been working on it lately. I could go through the trouble to get this unicorn for her that would quickly start collecting dust in the corner in hopes of seeing my little girl light up, of winning the title of “best mom” in her mind. But honestly at the end of the day all I want is for my girls to feel more loved today than they did yesterday, to know that happiness doesn’t come in a box. I want them to look back at this time and remember dance parties in the living room, making cupcakes and messes in the kitchen, and an occasional skip out of school for a lunch date. I need to keep reminding myself of this, in the rush of life and the hustle of tomorrow we must always live in today, relish in sticky kisses and stinky feet, dirty floors and handprints on windows. Who knows, in December when her birthday rolls back around I might end up getting the unicorn but for today, I am just going to snuggle with my girls and enjoy this moment and keep creating memories for them to look back on.