A Place For

Gifts from your kids.  A varied assortment of homemade, pieced together, and stuff they had under their beds. I’ve gotten homemade cards and macaroni jewelry, original pieces of artwork, glow sticks, a painted tree bark statue and things they grabbed from their closet. Things their mother and I bought for them to have (Which makes them very adorable and loving “regifters”, but “regifters” none the less).  My girls will then gift wrap whatever it is they have with more tape than a UPS package and deliver to me with a smile. I don’t really have a huge need for a Ziti bracelet, the glow stick will eventually run out of glow and I can’t keep every piece of artwork unless I’d like to end up on an episode of Hoarders. But it is nice to know that my children are as excited to give as they are when they receive and their excitement, outlined in their eyes, as I slice through the four rolls of tape used to wrap

the oversized pencil with a troll eraser is enough to make me hold on to the gifts as long as I can, even if I can’t find a place for an American Girl doll bottle (although you should see my cubicle at work).

This year for my birthday my oldest, Hannah, very proudly, gave me a bookmarker for my birthday.

The bookmarker is of our dog, Penny.  The wooden tongue depressor that makes up the body is as long as most books.  At the end of it, there is a Play-doh sculpture of Penny’s head.  The yellow Play-doh of the head is an oblong oval. To either side of the oval are Penny’s ears. One ear is missing its tip and the other ear is all but gone. It’s like the Venus De Milo of Play-doh dog sculptures.  In the middle of the head is a set of google eyes as well as an extra piece of Play-doh, colored with red marker, for the nose.  The entire head is stippled with black and brown marker.  Just underneath the head, on the wooden depressor, colored with marker, is what can only be Penny’s collar.

All around the sculpture there is evidence of where Hannah’s fingers kneaded the Play-doh together. Indents at the ears where her little fingers pressed pieces of Play-doh together. The bookmarker is heavy like the weighted arm on a metronome.  If I had trim work to do in the house, it may be the first thing I grab for the finishing nails.  Because of its weight, every time I open my book, Penny tumbles backward from its marked pages and on to the floor.  The size and weight make it tough to keep it in the back of the book while I’m reading too for fear it falls out.

I curse every time the damn thing hits the floor.  I think just how overly decorative a bookmarker it is (I’m used to either folding the corner of the page or using random slips of paper to mark pages).  Penny’s google eyes seem to look at me every time I grab my book.  I question whether or not I have a place for a book marker like this in my book or if I should go back to the gas receipt I was using.

Then I look at Penny again and I see the work my daughter put in to my present. I see her excited face when she gave it to me.  I see her stunned happiness, “He’s using it, it must mean he really likes it”, when she sees Penny’s head sticking out of the top of my book.  I see my little girl, who thought of her dad on his birthday.  So, just like the Ziti bracelets, glow sticks, original artwork on construction paper, and tree bark statue, I see a book marker that, regardless of whether or not I have a book to use it in, you can be sure I’m going to have a place for.

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