A Doll Story
I wasn’t planning on writing about my garage sale, other than that plug post I did last week. I have already written about how I held a garage sale two years ago. And as usual, I met a few interesting people. I didn’t encounter any French-speaking people these past two weeks, but there were a lot of Spanish-speaking people – from Colombia and Guatemala. There was a newly arrived family from Colombia who has been here in Winnipeg for only 40 days. None of them, except for the ten-year old boy, knew how to speak English. So he translated for us and they were actually my biggest sale. My Spanish is quite rusty but I managed to explain to this guy, not from this family, that the price tag in one of the items is 75 cents and not 75 dollars. Setenta y cinco centimos. Si. You see, I could easily say cincuenta centimos (50 cents), but it took me a minute to pull setenta out of my aging brain.
Okay, I don’t want to go any further away from the topic at hand. My last day of garage sale was last Saturday. It was really a slow day, unlike the two days last week. It was around 11:30 when this very nice lady came over and introduced herself.
“Hi! I’m Rosemary. I’m your new neighbour. I just moved in next door. What’s your name?”
“Oh hi! I’m Irene.”
“Nice to meet you, Irene.”
“Nice to meet you, too.”
So we chatted a little bit. She said that she’s occupying the second floor of the duplex next door. And I told her that I live on that side of this side-by-side duplex and that my sister lives on the other side. She took a look around my merchandise and picked a couple of items for her grandchildren, she said. Her daughter is in B.C.(British Columbia) and they sometimes drive over there. She noticed that I have mostly boy toys and stuff. I told her that’s because I have three boys. Then she spotted this 32-inch walking doll gift set. And she said, “Aww! That is so pretty. How did that get here then?”
So I explained to her how I happen to have this walking doll. My mother saw that walking doll at a factory where she usually buys stuff for Christmas presents for her grandchildren. She told me about this walking doll which was on sale for only $20.00. Where will you ever find a walking doll like that now, eh? I never got to play with dolls, much more so a big doll like that, when I was growing up. And I guess I wanted to make up for that now that I could afford it. So I asked Mama to buy it for me and when she brought it home, I immediately took it out of the box, held one of its hands and watched it walk with me. I then put it back in the box and never took it out since then. It has been sitting in my bedroom ever since and I would dust it every weekend when I clean my room. It has been there for the last five years or so and I thought that it was about time to get rid of it also along with our other unwanted stuff. I don’t really have a daughter who could play with it. I only have boys.
I related all of these to my new neighbour, matter-of-factly, without any hint of emotions. But she was somehow touched.
“Oh, that is so sad, Irene,” she said.
“But it’s okay,” I said. “Really, I don’t feel sad about it. It’s alright.”
I know that story may seem sad to some, especially those mothers out there who don’t have daughters. I know there are some of those who long to have daughters. I, for one, was crossing my fingers, literally, when I was awaiting what the technician would say when I was ordered by my Ob-Gyn to have a fetal assessment when I was pregnant with my third baby. I already had two boys and at that time, I was anxious to know what the gender of my third baby was. So I had to ask. I thought it would be nice to have a little girl in the family, to buy some pretty pink stuff and frilly little dresses. But at the same time, if it was another little boy, I would have been more than fine with that. But if it was a boy, I wanted to know before he came out because I didn’t want to be disappointed at the time of birth. I didn’t want disappointment to be my first feeling the first time I would see this baby. And I was glad that I knew beforehand. I never felt disappointed by having a third boy. And look at him now. He is just the sweetest boy I ever knew. Now, that got me emotional.
But I wasn’t feeling sad when I was talking to my new neighbour that Saturday. I have experienced many sadnesses in my life, but none of them was caused by not having a doll or fancy toys when I was a little girl nor have they been caused by not having a daughter. Because why would I feel sad when I have three boys, three special and unique, wonderful boys? Yes, there were times when I would wonder if I would get a lot more help around the house if I had a girl. Like last New Year’s Eve, when I was up on my feet for hours making lumpia (spring rolls). None of the boys were interested in rolling up those lumpia wrappers around that mixture of ground meat. But that was just a fleeting moment of wondering what if. I asked my sister once (she has three daughters and four sons) if it makes a difference that she has three girls. Does she think that it’s better that she has girls when it comes to chores? She said not really. So there you go.
And of course, there was also my post, Of sons and daughters, wherein I talked about how my nine-year old niece just hugged me for no reason at all. At that time, my ten-year son was starting to pull away from my hand when we’d cross the street. But I guess that has more to do with a growing up thing and not about being a boy or a girl. Anyway, I still get a lot of hugs from my youngest son. And you bet that I will hug him as long as he would let me and I relish every moment of that.
Okay, enough of that sentimental stuff. Because I’m fine, really. It was my neighbour’s reaction that had me thinking about this stuff again. I have accepted the fact that I wouldn’t have any daughters of my own when I had that fetal assessment and the technician told me that it was a boy. As I’ve told my children when they would ask me if I ever wanted a girl: “I will have a daughter when one of you gets married. I will have a daughter-in-law. Probably three, when you all get married.” And then one of the two younger ones would say, “Eww! I would never get married. I’ll stay with you here forever, mommy!” Ha ha! I will remind them of this conversation when that time comes that one of them tells me, “Mommy, I love this girl and I want to marry her.”
Okay, back to the doll.
My neighbour couldn’t take her eyes off that walking doll. I knew she wanted it. I have it tagged at $5.00. She already paid for the two items that she picked.
She said, “I want it but I don’t have enough money left.”
I asked her, “How much do you want to pay for it?”
She asked back, “How much will you give it to me?”
I asked her, “How much do you have left?”
Then she jokingly said, “You want all of my money?” She opened her wallet and showed me how much she still had. I saw a couple of loonies (dollar coins) and some loose change.
She finally said, “What about three dollars?”
I pretended to hesitate a bit and then I said, “Yeah sure, why not?”
I asked her, “Can I first take a picture of the doll before you take it home?”
Now she got me feeling all sentimental.
She said, “Aww, Irene! Of course you can. And you can come over to my place if you ever miss it.”
And then she hugged me and I hugged her back although I knew I smelled of sweat. It was a really hot day. But isn’t she sweet?
She called her husband from over the fence and handed him her purchases. We said our goodbyes and she said that we could talk again sometime.
She kept saying my name. That is so sad, Irene. Let’s talk again sometime, Irene.
And although I was embarrassed, I said in the end, “You know what? I’m sorry, but I’ve already forgotten your name. What was it again?”
She said, “Rosemary.”
I said, “I’m really sorry, Rosemary. Bye and I’ll see you later. And thank you, Rosemary.”
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