The Pink Ballerina


When I was small there were two items I coveted.

The first was a china tea set and the second was a Ballerina jewelry box. My best friend, Julia, possessed both. Each time I visited her home we would have a tea party. Julia's tea set was of delicate fine china. The pattern was pink roses and gold lined the rim of each cup, saucer, and plate.

The jewelry box was about the size of a child's shoe box. It was white with pink designs around the edges. On the bottom was a wind up key for the hidden music box. When the lid was opened the ballerina would pop out of her hiding place and the music would start. She would then start her dance. The lid of the jewelry box was lined in pink satin and in the center was a mirror. The bottom was also lined in pink satin and it was divided into small cubicles for keeping jewelry separated.

The jewelry box not only served as our centerpiece for our tea party but it was also our entertainment. Over and over, we would re-wind the music and watch the beautiful ballerina twirl as she performed for us in her pink wonderland.

The year I turned 9 I was certain I would get either a tea set or jewelry box for my birthday. I had dropped enough hints along with in-depth descriptions of each item.

Times were bad and money was scarce. I was one of five children and we didn't have much in the area of personal toys or belongings. Still, I dreamed that it might be possible some day.

My birthday came and went and my only gifts were crayons and an embroidered handkerchief.

When Christmas time rolled around I tried again. All I ever talked about was the tea set and the jewelry box. I was a child possessed. I wanted them. I must have them or how could I ever really be happy?

On Christmas Eve that year, the children were all put to bed early so that we could get to sleep in time for Santa Claus to come. The five of us children slept in one bed. The three oldest, which included a sister, my brother, and myself, slept at the head of the bed. The younger two sisters slept at the foot of the bed. My youngest sister, Rie, had just been potty trained and she hadn't wet the bed in several months -- an issue which had caused a lot of trouble for her in the past.

All my siblings were asleep. I was almost asleep as I silently said one last prayer reminding God of exactly what I wanted Santa to please bring me. As I said Amen, I heard my parents talking in the room next to ours. It was the living room where we had set up our Christmas tree.

My parents were discussing which gifts were under the tree. Had Santa already come, I wondered?

"Rovina, has the skates"... "Ruthie has the baby doll"..."Rie has the rocking chair," I could hear my parents whispering.

I held my breath waiting to hear my name. What does Chris get? I needed to use the bathroom very badly but didn't dare move a muscle to alert them I was awake. I waited and waited. The whispering continued but my name wasn't mentioned.

The need to empty my bladder worsened. However, I knew if they heard me they would not continue the whispers and I'd have to wait until morning to see what Santa had brought for me.

Then an idea struck me.

I wasn't normally a devious or wretched child but tough times called for tough measures! I crawled to the foot of the bed where my youngest sister, Rie, slept soundly. Without any consideration of possible consequences, I rolled her over, moved into her spot and emptied my bladder onto the mattress and covers. When finished, I moved and rolled Rie onto the wet spot then held my breath. She didn't wake up. I was safe!

But what had happened to my parents? All was silent. There were no more whispers. The lights were out and they must have gone to bed. Now after all my trouble, I'd still have to wait for morning to know about my gift.

Morning came and we all rushed into the living room to see what Santa had brought everyone.

Rovina had her skates. Nancy had a baby doll that said "Momma" and I couldn't believe my eyes -- I was so thrilled!

My long awaited jewelry box!

I wound up the music box and watched the ballerina dance. What heavenly bliss. I couldn't wait to tell Julia what Santa had given me.

"Let's put stuff away and have breakfast," my mother said. I placed my jewelry box on a shelf and helped pick up wrapping paper. Afterward my mother went in to make our bed and found the wet spot where Rie had slept.

"Marie, please come here," I heard her say. "Why did you wet the bed? Next time you will remember to get up and go to the bathroom, because you are getting a spanking to help you remember," she told my sister.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

"Please, God, don't let her get a spanking for something I did," I prayed. But the swats came and the sobs followed in spite of my prayer. I felt so guilty and miserable. In penance, I left my gift on the shelf the remainder of the day. I didn't deserve the pleasure of owning it after what I'd done. Tomorrow I would take it down and treasure it, but not today.

Right before bedtime, I heard a crash coming from the living room, followed by Rie's screeching sobs.

My family all came running in from different directions. There my sister stood in her little red rocking chair, and on the floor below her, was a shattered candy dish and my jewelry box. It was opened and the candy dish had fallen onto the lid, smashing the mirror and crippling my beautiful ballerina. I saw all this through my tears but I never said a word. I wiped away the tears, picked up my box to see if the music still worked. It didn't.

All I had left of my beautiful treasure was the box itself. My mother scolded Rie. "Tell your sister you are sorry," she said. I knew she was talking to Rie, but I put my box down, threw my arms around her and said, "No, I'm sorry. It's ok, it's ok," I said as I rocked her and comforted her.

I never confessed that day that I wet the bed and caused Rie to be spanked on Christmas Day. And I'm sure my parents wondered why I wasn't angry with her for breaking my much awaited and only Christmas gift. I just left it alone.

In my 9 year old mind, justice had been served by an all-knowing but forgiving Heavenly Father.

Years later, as an adult, I told this story to my sister, Rie. Not only did I finally receive her forgiveness -- I was able to finally forgive myself.

Chris Smith iluvmyfamilyxxx000@yahoo.com

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