I haven’t always been grateful for what I have.
It pains me to say that, because appreciating the little things, is one of the things I do best. (Which is saying something, since there’s plenty I’m bad at, like geography, maths and not being judgemental).
When people ask me what I want for my birthday, I always say ‘anything’ (which is annoying for those who actually want me to say, “Oh, I’d really love this exact specific thing which you can buy here) – but I mean it. Anything.
Example: If someone gave me, say, a bit of shit on a stick (literally or figuratively, whatever), then so long as it was procured with love and thoughtfulness, I would cherish it forever. Matty has been buying me presents – often jewellery, my favourite thing – for the 12 years we’ve been together, and I can honestly say he’s never got it wrong. Not once. Besides the fact that he has incredibly good taste, I love everything he buys me, because I love Matty, and I know he puts a lot of thought into his gift-buying.
(The Guru, however, has shown room for improvement. Two of Tutti’s particularly grim birthdays involved the unwrapping of a dustbuster and a set of windchimes. Bad, Guru. Very bad.)
The first time in my life I remember feeling ungrateful, was around my 10th birthday. I had decided that what I really, really wanted from my parents was a porcelain doll. God knows why. They’re fragile for starters, and I’m a klutz on legs. But I had already imagined her; all flouncy hair and frilly dress, perfect porcelain face (utterly lacking in personality. Porcelain dolls are kind of snooty when you think about it. They’re like designer-store sales-assistants of the doll world).
Anyway, this is the sort of gift I was anticipating.
So imagine what I thought when I opened my birthday present and I was greeted by THIS:
Not only is she very, very small, she doesn’t exactly have flouncy hair. Nope. Not even one fucking ringlet. In fact, take off her bonnet, and, she has nothing but a fringe! The ABJECT HORROR!
From the back, she looks like Matty!
Of course, what I didn’t realise at the time was that Tutti and The Guru were flat broke (ignorance and innocence is bliss, when you’re 10) and yet they wanted to give me what I’d asked for so badly, because are such gorgeous and lovely parents (and because I am so spoilt) that they did their utmost very best.
The funny thing is, that if they’d given me the porcelain doll I’d imagined, I would have probably lost interest quickly, or accidentally smashed her smug porcelain face in. Instead, this strange little baldy has stuck around for good, and has become one of my most treasured possessions. Not only because she reminds me of how lucky I am to have such thoughtful, lovely, loving parents, but think about it: They bought that for me before the internet was really a thing. And even now, with all the search engines, and shopping sites and buy-anything-at-the-click-of-a-button, you’d have to look pretty long and hard to find something that weird.