Friday, November 30, 2007

A Barbie Dream House for Me?!

There it sat. Huge and under the tree. The tag insisted that I was correct, this big box from Santa/my grandparents was intended for only me. My five year-old brain was buzzing with ideas. I could barely contain my excitement. My mother kept warning me to stay away from the tree, "It's not time to open presents yet. Stop touching things and back away from the tree!" I think I might have done a little dance of protest before I backed away.

I sat on my grandmother's paisley and floral couch and wondered, what could it be? A pony? It was certainly a large enough box. Then my mind settled on it. The only thing it could be. The only thing I really wanted. A Barbie Dream House. A Barbie Dream House! That had to be it! Satisfied with this idea I got off the couch and joined the rest of my family for dinner.

All through dinner and dessert I couldn't sit still. I squirmed this way and that in my seat at the dining room table. Dinner went on forever! Turkey and all the trimmings. Fine. Shovel it in. C'mon! We've presents to unwrap! They drank wine and then coffee! Would this dinner ever end? My grandfather lit a cigar and leaned back in his chair. The nerve of him! It was never ending. Didn't these people know that a BARBIE DREAM HOUSE was less than two rooms away?! What was wrong with them? How could they not feel the ants in my pants excitement that I did? Didn't they want or need to unwrap their own presents? I NEEDED to unwrap that present! My brained screamed, "Time is of the essence here people!" Finally, my grandmother rose from the table and asked us if we wanted to sit by the tree and look at the lights. Yes! At last! We're going to get to the good part.

I watched my cousins and some of the adults unwrap presents. I received a few smaller items I can no longer remember. Then, my grandparents with big smiles on their faces, pushed the big box out from under the tree. Everyone speculated on what could be in such a large box. I nearly shredded the wrapping with my tiny frenzied hands. Huh. Wait. What's this? This is not some pink full of pictures Mattel box. It's just a regular old cardboard box. Uh.. heheheh something isn't right here folks. Slowly I opened the big box hoping against all hope that inside it was another box. The right box. The Barbie Dream House box. As I lifted the lid I noticed something red and wrapped in plastic. It was a coat. A winter coat. My heart seized. The wiring in my brain misfired and I swear I saw stars. This was all devastatingly wrong. A coat?! Who gives a little kid a coat for Christmas and smiles about it? What fun is a coat? It's not a toy! I have to wear this to school too? For the love of...

My heart just sunk. I lifted the red coat out of the box as my grandmother, all smiles, removed the plastic wrap. Oh look! It has a giant fur trimmed hood. Great. A belt too? Wonderful. I don't even think I tried to smile at my mother's prodding. I just remember the room feeling darker. I was so disappointed. How could they not remember to buy me the one thing I really wanted? Surely this coat costs as much as the dream house. It had fur for goodness sake! I hated that coat instantly. I wanted to throw it in the back of my closet banishing it to the dust bunnies forever. Scowling and refusing to mask my extreme disappointment and at the insistence of my mother, I thanked my grandparents. This was the worst present ever! The worst Christmas ever!

Weeks later and still playing with my cardboard box Barbie dream house. At least with the addition of the brand new giant box that the coat came in I had added an addition onto her house turning it into an apartment complex that her other friends could live in. To me that was the only consolation. No dream house. Just a giant red coat with fur on the hood that got in my mouth all the time. Awesome. I vowed never to forget this error in judgement by the adults in my life. I knew for sure that my parents were involved and had ok'd this gift. What was wrong with them?

Then one day as I stood in line waiting for my school bus a boy in my class began to make fun of my red coat. Being only five about all he could make fun of was the fact that it was big and red. Big Red he called me. Ha Ha. This kid was destined to be class president. He started pulling on the fur and telling the other kids it was a dead animal. Slowly, I turned around to face him and said in the most haughty voice I could muster, "If you must know that is REAL fox fur your hands are pawing. It was a gift from my grandparents and it is VERY expensive. It came in a GIANT box." Oddly, that shut him up. Then little girls began to crowd around me and they wanted to come and touch the soft fox fur. They admired the cute little belt and the fashionable buttons on my new coat. They wanted one just like it! It was a rather beautiful shade of red. Very complimentary to my hair color. Suddenly, I felt like a princess in my new red coat.

From that day on I loved that little red coat with the "fur" trim. I was sad when I outgrew it. I kept it for longer than necessary in the back of my closet. We had some good times me and that red coat. I believe it was the first lesson I consciously remember about finding the best in something and looking at the brighter side of things. A Barbie Dream House I came to realize was just a bunch of plastic. My coat kept me warm and regal. I could take it everywhere, something I couldn't do with the Dream House. Besides, I had a whole apartment complex to manage now with my imagination and that was better than just a single Barbie Dream House.

What makes a gift memorable for you? PBN wants to hear about it during today’s Blog Blast which is brought to by the fine folks at Excitations, a new gift giving site. Stop by and browse their memorable gifts. You can win some too! Just write about your most memorable gift whether it's that painfully bad hair crimping set you received on your 35th birthday (which was last year and not 1985!) or some wonderful surprise that totally made your year. Adult or child memory we don't discriminate! Just share.


  1. That was an awesome story! My heart sank, then filled with love right along with it!

    I hope you get what you want this year!!!

  2. My best friend had the Barbie Dream House. And for Christmas I got the ski lodge and pink Corvette. All plastic. Trust me, red coat, much better.

  3. I was on the edge of my seat reading that! I love that you told that boy that it came in a giant box as a way to show that little boy just how important it was.

  4. It was the Mickey Mouse Train Set. I don't know why I wanted it but it must have been something I saw on TV. My mom had me helping bring in bags from the car with specific instructions - DO NOT LOOK IN THE BAGS. What does a 4-5 year old do? LOOK.

    Mommy, Look it is the Mickey Mouse Train Set! I screammed. That was the last I saw of it. Never again. That was right, my mom took the present back. Actually she said that once she looked at it the toy was something that I would have played with for about a minute before moving on. What I remember is that I looked in the bag and then the gift was returned.

    Lessoned learned! I never, never look in a bag. You could bring in my gift right in front of me. Just tell me where you hid it and it while be a secure as if you had it in the safe. My husband loves that he does not ahve to sneak any present into the house.

    For years I was slightly bitter. Now, I that I have two little ones of my own. I am thankful that I learned that lesson and that I did not get the train set.

  5. I didn't get the Barbie Dream House, either. Instead, my dad hand built a doll house. He crafted food out of clay to put in the fridge.

    It was amazing.

    So while at first I was taken aback not to have received the commercial version that everyone "had" to get, I was thrilled once I realized the true value of what I had been given.

    I still tear up to think about the effort my dad must have exerted to create that house for me!


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