Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I must begin this post with a tale of a very selfish person, and that person is me. Today we visited Sgt. Pepper's aunt's extremely high-end jewelry shop. Now, Hedgehog is very interested in gems, she has a thick book of gems at home that she avidly studies, and so she loved the shop. She got to see a watermelon tourmaline, which she had only before read about, and was sweetly excited about that. But the longer we stayed in the shop visiting, the more closely she began to examine the jewelry, and the more covetous she became.

"Mama," she said. "I have a hundred dollars saved. Do you think there's something I could buy in here?"

"No, sweetie," I told her as kindly as possible. "It's not that kind of store."

"Oh," she was momentarily deflated, but strangely didn't seem to internalize this information. "What about this little ring?" she asked, pointing to a gold band set with ruby, emerald, diamond, and sapphire. Granted, it was not ostentatious. So I could understand her confusion. "It's my favorite thing in the whole store," she told me wistfully. I showed her the price. "Oh," she said. "I don't have that much."

"No," I said. "Neither do I."

"I love it so much, mama."

"Hedgehog," I said. "There are so many things in here that I would dream of having, but I just have to dream, because they're not for me."

However, her innocent words were overheard by a very indulgent grandma. And what do you think happened next? Yes. You are correct. Seven-year-old Hedgehog became the proud yet non-comprehending owner of a gold ring set with ruby, emerald, diamond, and sapphire. And what was my reaction? Jealousy, pure and simple. Never ever before have I been jealous of Hedgehog, never have I begrudged her a moment of happiness or any material thing given to her. Never ever. But here we were, surrounded by stunning jewelry, much of which I would have loved beyond words to receive, but that Sgt. Pepper and I could never ever afford, and instead a little girl was receiving a totally insanely decadently luxe gift, a gift she can't even understand. I felt my throat tighten momentarily, actually felt tears welling up. I'm making this confession here; I comfort myself that one can't help what one feels.

And once I got over these shameful feelings of jealousy, my mothering instinct kicked in. Now I'm still sorting out the event in my mind. Do I object to her getting such an expensive piece of jewelry, for no reason at all, just because she said she liked it? Maybe it's not my place to object--and her grandmother can do whatever she likes with her money. Should I have said something to halt this maybe immoral display of largesse? No, I don't think so. And I tried not to ruin the moment by making faces at Sgt. Pepper and perhaps pinching him until he screamed. In the end, I'm going to let it go and consider that now Hedgehog has her very own special possession that will always be with her, if only in her jewelry box.

The rest of the day was spent in the minivan driven maniacally from place to place.

We ended up at an amusement park, where Hedgehog convinced me to ride this with her:

I agreed and, indeed, enjoyed myself. We saw the moon over the Gulf of Mexico:

But poor Hedgehog as it turned out really really didn't like the height:

Here she is, as she explained to me, trying "not to fall out":

After which, we took a ride on the beautiful carousel:

Where the crazy lights and angles and movement were just a wee bit trippy for me:

But the dignified old rabbit was a comforting presence:

We ended up at a barbecue joint, where Hedgehog rallied enough to ham it up for the camera with a piece of smoked brisket:

Then she flagged, and who could blame her. Between the jewels and the heights, it was a very intense sort of day:

Now why on earth can't they get the punctuation right?


faycat said...

Are you sure that rabbit is not actually a jackalope? It looks like some kind of hybrid.

I'm jealous of the ring, too. Real jewelry does this to everyone.

Leah said...

You're right--it must be a bizarre hybrid of some sort! I love the jackalope mystique. And you're also right about the other--real jewelry creates strong emotions, doesn't it. Argh.

Cecile said...

Oh my gosh! Leah, my mouth hit the floor when you told me her grandmother bought that ring for her. Wow! what a delicate situation. What does Sgt. Pepper think about that? I think the only way you can look at it is that the ring will hopefully become a family heirloom for her. Make her write in a diary about the even or something so that she will know that it came from her grandmother and so that later she will understand the importance and significance of the piece. The Ferris Wheel looked like pure hell for her. Poor thing, but at the BBQ she looked like she was so happy. I hope you were able to enjoy yourself. But I would be extremely uncomfortable about the ring,too, so don't feel bad about your reaction. I'll let you in on a little secret (I guess I'm letting the cat out of the bag here,) I've been jealous of my boys a time or too as well. Usually when my husband pays more attention to them than me, but it has occurred and more than once, but we Mom's just swallow it down, and pray that noone else noticed.
I hope you have a Happy Easter.

Mr. Shife said...

Well first off thank you for leaving me a comment. I finally broke you down, huh? I look forward to more of your comments. Now on to your post. The jealousy thing is something I am worried about too once Mrs. Shife and I have kids because I like being the center of attention in my family but I know that is going to change once junior shows up. Anyway that was nice of grandma. And if grandma was to buy a dumb, white guy something please let me know.

Leah said...

Cecile, I feel so relieved to hear your confession...I guess where is it written that we can't be jealous of our children sometimes? I mean, why should that be the last taboo, we're only human, right?

I like your idea of getting her to write in her journal about the event. That's smart, because it's also a good way to get her to understand that it was a very big deal what happened.

Hello Mr. Shife, as per Cecile's comment, I guess it happens to all of us with kids, whether we admit it or not. Anyway, you can just let your kid know when the time comes that you're used to being the center of attention and that that must continue status quo ante! All right, maybe not. Maybe you can come to some sort of understanding...just like I'm going to come to some sort of understanding with Hedgehog over who gets to wear the fancy ring...

Skeeter said...

Wow! That's a lot of events for just one day. No wonder Hedgehog was tired. Looks like great fun though.

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

Oh dear. I'm really impressed with your ability to note your own reaction and I love Cecile's idea of documenting. I will be great for Hedgehog to write about what she likes about the ring too.

Motherhood doesn't get a vacation, it seems.

Suzanne said...

To my favorite Jewish friend...HAPPY EASTER!!!!

Nope, I can't stop laughing. What do you expect, a miracle? I can't change because I don't know how, despite endless attempts.

XO ;)

Team Jolias said...

Yipes, I'm jealous of the ring! I'm such a Puritan about this, like the ring should have been associated with some kind of achievement. Couldn't the woman at least buy it secretly and hold onto it until a birthday? Or a going-back-to-Brooklyn present? Instant gratification is terrifying.
And my MIL arrives tomorrow with promises to "spoil" my 2-week old. How's she going to do that? silk diapers??

ShutterSpy said...

Really interesting photos of the merry-go-round and ferris wheel.

The rabbit (or whatever it is!) looks scary!