I grew up in a world full of pink. The only girl, with three brothers, my mother worked hard to ensure that everything I ever wore, looked at, owned...was pink and decidedly feminine. My bedroom walls were pink. The carpet was pink. To provide some contrast, the bedspread was white...with pink flowers. Dolls were everywhere. I've seen a picture of myself as a toddler on a bed, surrounded with, covered by dolls. Faces fill the picture. My dark eyes distinguish my face from the lifeless creatures surrounding me. Rather disturbing image, actually.
I was the princess of my family. The only girl. The pastor's daughter. And in my dad's church at the time, the only new baby. An artist in the church painted a portrait of me. I had handmade dolls, clothes. Since childhood, I've heard stories of the generosity of the people there. But we moved away just before I turned three. Apparently the overflow of love poured out on me was not enough to make up for the deceitful, manipulative leaders in the church, my dad's near depression, and the cruel, legalism of my brothers' school.
Even in our new church, I was still spoilled with gifts. Already cluttered with dolls, my new room soon began to be filled with more collectibles. Later, in school they would sometimes ask if we had any collections. Some kids collected stamps. I personally did not collect anything. People did it for me. Kind people would bring me gifts. Little nic nacs they had found. Always with my name and some kind of 'clever' association with angels. "our little angel" "Angel of Joy" "Angelic one"....they called me.
When I started playing the violin, it was even easier to pinpoint the exact figurine meant for me. You would not believe how many Hallmark designers have created angels playing violins. I was trained so well that it was never hard for me to (I think genuinely) show gratitude as people presented their amazing find, "I was just in the store and saw this. I immediately thought of you." "It's an ANGEL! and your name is ANGELA! and she's even playing the violin...just like you!"
Some "Angelas" seem to really like the cute nicknames that our name affords.
My inability to avoid clutter as a child has led to a strong distaste for most things Hallmark. My best friend always liked the classic pooh or disney Christmas ornaments and collectibles. I might have liked them too if I hadn't had to spend the last ten years of my life trying to get rid of these tacky figurines.
I am just now beginning to actually appreciate small sculpted art.
Please. Stop giving me "angels."
Disclaimers: Mom and Dad. I have no problem with my name...or even your intent to gratefully name me "messenger of Joy." I know you thoughtfully and lovingly chose the name for me. (In fact, I like it.) I also know that the generosity shown to me has always been because of you. Thank you. And thank you for teaching me gratitude. (I really *am* grateful...even if it doesn't sound like it.) You have been given more than your share of tasteless gifts to fill your home.
Friends who have given me angel figurines, cards, violin-playing angel ornaments. I really am grateful for the thought. I've even loved and kept some of these things...especially Christmas ornaments (these are easy to display for a month). However grateful I may be for some of your gifts, I just might have 're-gifted' them.