Saturday, July 24, 2010


Image by Alicia Bock
December 18th, 1983

Dear MaryJanes,

We've been having to leave for work a little earlier lately to allow for the conditions of the snow covered roads. I see all of the beautiful toys that the couple I am working for are buying for their three children. They have wrapped them up so pretty and spared no expense to the amount of ribbon and bows that adorn those packages. It's a conflict on my mind not to envy their situation as I know that I have you with me all day long and their careers not only interfere with their daytime hours, but also includes night time meeting obligations as well. I know in my heart that the best gifts that I can give you are my time and love. Even with this knowledge, I would love to spoil you for Christmas with an armload of brand new toys. I have been thrifty with my shopping and tried to spread it out over the last few months. I scan the second hand shops for suitable toddler gifts. I know that you are too young to know any different, but I know. If your father would just release his grip around his wallet, I could buy you something new, something special that was meant for just you. I don't ask for his contribution towards the upcoming holiday, and he does not offer. So it will be what it is to be, thrifty and creative.
I am certain that others in the family will be giving you new toys, and I am so grateful for that. I hate to see you go with out.
I think about a time when I was very young, it's a memory that my sister tells me is one she can never seem to erase from her mind. She tells me that I had very long braids in my hair and chubby little checks, just like you have. We were at my grandparents house for a Christmas get together of my fathers side of the family. All of my cousins were there, I was the third youngest and my sister was the oldest of the cousins. We lived further away from our grandparents then the other cousins and this led to favoritism on my grandmother's part. It was most noticeable when all of the aunts and other girl cousins received bath robes, hand made from big fluffy towels. My grandmother had made them and boasted about how much she loved her own. I sat anxiously for my turn to receive mine. I was about 5 at the time, and didn't understand why my robe had not been handed to me yet. I turned to my big sister, Kim and asked her the question, "Where is my special made robe?" My sister tells me that this broke her heart. She knew that she and I were not receiving those special robes. She understood, even at the age of 11, that she and I were not favored like the other girls, and only special girls got those fluffy robes. She would never forgive our grandmother for not making me a robe like the others received. She did not care that she, herself did not get one, she just couldn't bare the sadness in my eyes of being left out. That's the kind of big sister she always was, putting my feelings ahead of her own.

I suppose now I can better understand what she must have felt. When you become a mother some day, you will want the best for your children too. And on the occasions that they feel left out, your heart will break as you look into their eyes. This is one of those days for me. I can not imagine a much worse feeling than not be able to provide your child with the things that you feel they are worthy of. I will make sure that you feel my love and that I give you a sense of comfort that no toy could ever provide. I hope when you grow up, you know that I am doing the best for you that I know how. I just hope it is good enough. Now stay close by.

Love, Galoshes


  1. This post has truly touched me. We live in a very affluent community in Texas and I some times feel like my girls aren't getting everything that they are worthy of. However I believe that our craftiness and cleaver reuses of things builds character and makes them unique! We are often asked where we get the clothes and unique handmade toys and accessories that they have. My response is almost always "We made it!" and my girls take pride in this.

    Thank you so much for sharing and I agree that the love and comfort felt by a child is way more precious then a shiny new toy!


  2. ~Julie,
    This little message is especially for you:
    When my sister, Kim and her husband were a very young couple with two children they were trying hard to make ends meet after a few unexpected events came up that set them back. It was nearing Christmas and they had no money to purchase gifts as they had done in the past years. My sister's solution, she bought a huge bag of balloons and silly string. Christmas eve she and her husband sat up all night, blowing up balloons. The house was full of them. When the kids woke up, they were ecstatic about all of these balloons. To date, even now as their two kids are adults, they recall that Christmas as their very favorite!
    And by the way, your comment touched me as well!

  3. Galoshes,
    Thank you so much for that sweet message. It's just so lovely and it made me cry a little. My children are such a blessing and I some times forget that it's the memories that we make with them and not the material things that we give to them!
    I look forward to your next post! You and Mary Janes are just lovely soles.

  4. ~Julie,
    MaryJanes and I get teary eyed too, even Hallmark commercials do us in!

  5. Oh my gosh! I'm in the middle of this story. My baby lives in hand-me-downs and resale shop finds. But I love her. I completely love her. And my house will probably be filled with ballons come Christmas.

    Thanks for the great idea.

  6. Big Boops,
    I am so glad that you found this post!
    Another fun thing she did for her kids when money was tight, was to get silly string. I used this tip for Easter!!! The $1.00 cans of Silly String was the hit of the day for my three grandkids
    Did you ever notice that allot people that make it "big", all came from wearing hand me downs?!!
    It's true! You could be raising a future go getter!!