When giving away is fun

When giving away is fun!

Lomé Louw

Lily sits on her bed and looks at all her dolls. Before today she has not realised how many dolls and teddy bears she has. Her whole bed is full of teddy bears and in a way she loves all of them. 

She does not like the teddy with the cream-coloured waist coat much. The teddy looks angry and it would be better suited to a boy than a girl. She got the teddy from the nurses on the day that her brother, Helmut, was born. They gave it to her to say congratulations now that she is the older sister. That is probably why the bear looks like a boy so that she is reminded of the day when Helmut was born.

Then she walks to her baby dolls. They all lie in a row in the baby bed that she slept in when she was a baby. All her dolls are wrapped snugly- each one in her own blanket. She is crazy about her teddies, but her baby dolls are like her own real-life babies. And just as mom takes good care of her and Helmut, she takes care of her dolls. She lovingly pets their heads. Then she sits on her bed again. She had a play date at Anja’s house today. When she asked Anja if they could play with her dolls, she said that she only had one doll. Anja fetched her doll. The doll is really old; her hair is falling out and the doll’s “skin” is rough and hard. Lily could see that Anja loved her doll just as much as she loved hers. The doll’s clothes were washed and clean and she was wrapped in a blanket. The blanket looked like it could have been Anja’s when she was a baby.

Maybe she should give Anja one of her teddies. She does not think that Anja has a teddy to sleep with her. And she, Lily, has so many, she sleeps with a different one each night of the week. Maybe she should give the boy-teddy to Anja. If one does not have a teddy, then a boy-teddy would be a big and special gift.

She puts the teddy next to her bag. Tomorrow she will make Anja very happy. Then she calls Mom to tell her about her plan. Mom plants a kiss on Lily’s forehead. “That is a very lovely gesture Lily”. “Remember if your hand is closed you cannot give to others, and if your hands are closed you will never receive anything from anyone”.

That evening Lily lies in her bed. She thinks about Mommy’s words. So, if she gives her ugliest teddy away, are her hands really open to give something to someone else? She rolls around in her bed and cannot fall asleep. She fetches the boy-teddy that lies next to her bag and falls asleep with him clutched tightly in her arms.

The next morning the sun shines merrily through Lily’s curtains. She feels just as happy as the sunbeams. She walks to her baby bed and pick up one of her favourite dolls. She fetches the pretty purple blanket with hearts from her cupboard and wraps her baby doll snugly. Then she walks to the kitchen and tells Mommy of her new plan.

Mommy smiles and hugs Lily tightly. Then she drops Lily at school. That afternoon when she fetches Lily from school, Anja stands next to Lily with the baby doll. Lily gives her doll a kiss for the last time, hugs Anja and gets into the car next to Mom. “This was the best school day of my life,” Lily chatters.

“How so?” Mommy asks.

Lily tells Mommy how excited Anja was about the doll. Then she bends down and takes a letter out of her bag. She folds it open and reads it to Mommy:

Dear Lily

I know that it must have been difficult for you to give one of your babies away. I will be the best second Mom to your baby doll that there has ever been. I love her already. My Daddy and Mommy are going through a difficult time. My Granny has moved in with us and there is not much money for extras. Last week it was my birthday and I so hoped that I would get a doll. It has been a long time since I have received such a great gift as today!

Lots of love

Anja xx

“Mommy I don’t think I have ever made someone so happy. I thought I would ask Anja at the end of the day if I could have the doll back, because it was very difficult for me to give the doll away. Buuut, the good feeling I have inside of me is much bigger than the sad feeling about the doll. When Anja put that letter in my hand, I understood what Mommy meant that when your hands are closed then no one will put anything in it.”

Mommy smiles:  “You have made someone happy like that Lily, me, just now”. Lily presses the letter against her heart. That giving things away can make so many people feel good and happy!

Originally published in My Child and I, Summer, 2019

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