I'm feeling guilty that Troy and Teddy have so many toys. We try not to spoil them, but like good middle-class Americans, we buy our kids too many things.
When I think back to presents that I received in my childhood, there are a few that stand out in my mind. The year I turned 10, we were in the process of moving (again). We were visiting friends in North Carolina, on the way to Germany, on the day of my birthday. It didn't bother me that I wasn't going to have a birthday party, I never liked them anyway. I was perfectly happy when my mother pulled one gift-wrapped package out of her suitcase. It was a Superstar Barbie doll, and I loved it. She had a bright pink satin dress with a feather boa, and she had a diamond ring and earrings that you could stick into holes in her hand and head. She had matching bright pink, high-heeled shoes, and her arms were permanently bent so she could stand with one hand on her hip and one hand brushing back her long, curly, blond hair. She was the most beautiful Barbie ever, at least to a 10 year old in 1977.
The year I turned 5, we were traveling on my birthday, too. That year my parents gave me a ring, a silver band with hearts stamped all the way around. I still have both of those presents to this day, over thirty years later. Barbie is in a box in the basement with her friends, Growing-up Skipper, Ken, and the Lone Ranger (that's another story). I keep the ring in my jewelry box, and I still like wear it sometimes. It just fits on my little finger.
I think those memories are what I'm trying to create for Troy and Teddy, in an awkward way. I'm trying to give them the experience of getting a present so special that they will remember it -- and me -- for the rest of their lives. Could I do a better job of choosing fewer but more meaningful gifts? Probably. Will they love me more because of the presents I give them? Probably not. But I forgive myself for trying.
Thanks for the presents, Mom and Dad.