My daughter always begged for new toys when we went to the store. Refusing each time, painfully watching her head bow in sadness.
A few years went by and I got in the habit of only buying trinkets and gifts on birthdays and holidays. Parenting is difficult at times, but it got easier for the both of us eventually.
Even the occasional gifts weren’t too flashy due to money being a bit tight. My husband left us with a fair share of everything, but even together we didn’t have much in the first place.
I saved enough money soon enough for my daughter’s 13th birthday to get her her first cellphone. Everyone in her school, according to her, has owned their own phone since they were 11.
And since we couldn’t afford much, she would never expect it, it would be the perfect surprise. I didn’t bother wrapping it because I knew she would be ecstatic when she saw it.
After a small cake from Walmart with reused candles on top, I went to my closet to get the gift which was stashed away. I walked into the kitchen, the boxed cellphone in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other.
She smiled and reached for the flowers. Then she glanced at the box. “Is that for Katie?” My friend from work. She didn’t even recognize the box. She thought her gift was just the flowers. “No, it’s for you, sweetie.” I gave it to her for a closer look. She soon realized it was the packaging of a cellphone. She smiled and hugged me tight.
“Mom, how could we even afford this?!” She tucked some hair behind an ear as she stared at it in wonder. “I saved up for a while and just in time for your birthday.” We sat down in our chairs at the table, scooting the dirty plates towards the center.
“I hope you’re satisfied, your other birthday gifts weren’t much.” I watched her stroking the box in awe, too shocked to open it. “I think…I’ve always been satisfied. When I was a kid, like any other, I wanted all the toys in the world, but at home, I forgot about the store and was happy to come back to my favorite toys. Waiting for me.”