Beneath the rubble of Christmas morning, I chanced upon a small dolly, cozily tucked up to his armpits in a red and green felt stocking. I could call the gesture motherly, but I knew better by the skew of his striped nightcap, and then, by the presence of foil-wrapped chocolate Santas still underneath his feet: he was being ignored.
Surely this was wrong! My five year old loves dolls! Or, as I’ve learned: a doll. Singularly. Just one. The doll’s name is “Amy-lissa” and she is loved and revered and loved and cuddled and loved. (And loved.) She naps in a crib made from a cardboard box reinforced with packing tape and more cardboard; she’s warmed in a blankie knit especially for her, when, snowy night, movie on, old yarn from my bin, my daughter was unpicky about the colors and corrected me with a patient tsk when I referred to Amy-lissa as a toy. (I used the last length of my fluffy red wool as penance.)
Measuring the probability of distraction and oversight on this new doll, and wanting justice for the situation (ie: reassurance at my Christmas present to her), I paused amid my garbage run and took the new baby to my daughter playing with Amy-lissa and squatting to their level introduced them: “Did you see this? I think it’s a little brother for Amy-lissa.”
My five year old, pink-cheeks flecked with chocolate croissant and cocoa from breakfast, took a deep breath and sighed dramatically at her plight:
“Mom.” She paused, her brown eyes were liquid, deep, certain: “It’s too hard to love two babies. You can have him.”
Because I’m in love with my daughter as much as she’s in love with her Amy-lissa, the point made me laugh inside even as I nodded seriously and hugged her, her hair wild against my cheek. I felt her shoulders unburden as I promised: “I will.”
She is wise, my little girl. I’m more Mae West I suppose, and too much of a good thing is wonderful—if one pair of boots makes me feel cute, then one every season will probably make me feel like a goddess, and if one square of dark chocolate in the evening makes me happy, then the entire bar promises bliss, nirvana, heaven, transcendence…
(Where was I again?)
Anyway, I wonder now, about this abundance. I wonder why it is a struggle to be grateful when often times our needs are not really needs, but mere wants—and everything given is in excess, in “addition to.”
Does abundance make it harder to appreciate what we have? Are too many “things” a distraction? Do we take our blessings for granted, seeking the next thing? Or do we accept what we have as enough? And do we know, that when we truly appreciate the one, it blooms into a blessing more abundant? Because gratitude will do that—and multiply our blessings worth like light through a prism.
Eventually, I send the baby boy doll back to Amazon, tucked snugly into his box with a little wish of finding his rightful girl cuddled against his fabric body. I send him away with that hope because he was adorable and I did want to keep him (and his wonderfully scented head that smelled like my childhood), but knew his destiny with us would be to languish in our playroom, buried in a bin. He simply wasn’t needed here: my daughter was content with what she already had, not empty by what she lacked.
Somewhere I bet there’s a little girl with his name on her heart and she will spoil him with the homemade accoutrement that he deserves. In that spirit, I am happy to send him away, happy to say my daughter is the proud owner of one doll. Because now I see that when we truly love what we already have (and maybe it’s just one thing), that one is enough.