Big bucket of paper and pencils is gift of lifetimeI needed a pencil.
I now have, and I am not exaggerating, hundreds of pencils, pens, markers and highlighters in every color known to pigment imagination. They are in a large blue basket I call my Staples stockpile, along with Post-Its, memo, note and legal pads, plus funky erasers and a bottle of Wite-Out, just in case I make a mistake.
How I got this dream-stash is related to the trials and tribulations associated with childbirth during the last century. My own personal office supply closet was presented to me as a Mother's Day gift. Odd gift to honor momhood some might say; I disagree, it was perfect.
When I was 10 I begged my parents for a desk. It was Christmas and that's all I wanted. My older brother said a desk was dumb and my mother and father rolled their eyes and told me it wouldn't fit in my room. I even wrote Santa a letter about wanting a desk.
At 10, a letter to the big guy was kind of babyish by pushing the whole existence thing, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I told God if I got a desk I'd become a nun, and I'm not even Catholic. On Christmas morning when my brother and I entered the living room, there in the glow of the lights was my student's desk with all the drawers full of paper, pads, pencils and pens, plus drawing supplies and a Jon Gnagy art set.
For those too young to know who Jon Gnagy was, what Guy Fieri is to "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on the Food Network, Jon Gnagy was to the art world on television in the 1950s and '60s. The desk was great, exactly what I wanted, but in it was what my little girl dreams (of being an artist and a writer) were all about.
What I remember most about my desk is the smell of paper and pine. My mother and father found the perfect spot to place it in my bedroom. I'd like to say the time I spent at my desk helped me excel in schoolwork but that would be far from the truth. What the hours I spent sitting there did was instigate the idea that imagination is real. That time afforded me possibility, the perfect currency for a child and legacy for an adult.
Recently my daughters and I attended a fundraiser where baskets filled with goodies such as sand toys and rare wines were raffled off. With a handful of tickets, I was immediately drawn to a basket the size of a VW Beetle that held every stationery supply imaginable. Every single one of my tickets went toward that prize, which apparently a lot of other people wanted, too. I didn't win the basket. While my kids went home with lots of loot, I went home with good intentions.
My daughters later told me that it was on that day of raffle loss, the idea of my Mother's Day gift was born. Cheerio necklaces, homemade cards accompanying burnt toast and orange juice for breakfast in bed, have been well worth the many hours of labor, weeks of worry and years of parental angst because now I have enough stationery supplies to last, if not what's left of my lifetime, certainly theirs.
My birthday is next fall. I'm trying to think of something I really want, won't get and that the kids might give me as a gift. Can children buy their parents retirement? Enough said.
EMAIL CAROLYNN PIANTA AT CP.ENOUGHSAID@AOL.COM