The mother in this story lives in my dreams. She is clear. She is direct. "The answer is no." I am haunted by many things, but near the top of my list are my blurry moments of parenting indecision. I will say to myself, "If only I had said no to this question, and yes to that one, then the day would have turned out much differently. For the better." I replay the scenes of the day in my head, tweaking little responses that make me sound like the balanced, sensible, warm, wise, sage of a mom I want to be.
I want to sit down over a cup of tea with Holly Hobbie and say:
"So Holly tell me, after Fanny's mom tells her that she will not buy her a Connie doll, she handles Fanny's solicitations with such rockstar strength, and also does not seem to be riddled with guilt thereafter. Can you tell me a little bit more about that process and how she arrived at that place of peace?"
After the puzzled look on her face fades, I will tell her how comforted I was by the mother's response to the question of, "Why?"
It is delightfully vague. "Because I don't like the way Connie dolls look," said her mother. "They're just too...much."
Fiona asked me today, "What does she mean, too much? Too much money?"
I said, "No, not too much money, just, you know, too... MUCH."
"Oh," she said.
If you haven't read this gem, the ending is priceless. May we all, in whatever circumstances come our way, have this kind of wisdom.