Editor’s Note: Maria will be back writing new articles in a couple weeks. In the interim, this weekend’s selection was originally published Jan. 7, 2012 — a classic tale of loved ones trying to give to each other, but at cross-purposes. — Amanda
By Maria Padhila
It was an O. Henry holiday. Gift of the Magi, I mean. We all seemed to be offering each other things we hoped would please each other, at a cost of compromising what we most needed.
I had been looking forward to the season for at least a month. On the day after Christmas, Isaac was going to take our daughter to visit her grandparents. He has done this several times since she was born, and I luxuriate in the time alone — once I painted walls and made curtains and rearranged the furniture, once I did a seven-day ritual, often I’ll go to as much theater as I can stand and afford. Best of all is the freedom from the primary responsibility of making sure a small and very vulnerable being is always OK.
It’s something awesome in the old sense of the word, if you think about it, how frightening it is to care of a child. Mostly we all just do it and don’t think about how important it is, how much is riding on every move. It’s one of those denials that’s necessary for survival, much as denying one’s enjoyment of being free from it is. Issac was the one taking the hit for this trip, with hours in a minivan ahead of him. But one can learn to enjoy a week of child care and grandparents when you have a nice ocean view.
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