Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knowing It All

So this is one of the funniest gifts I received this year from one of my roommates, who spent a week prior to our actual gift unwrappings telling me that she could not wait to see my reaction when I opened up one of my gifts from her.

If you know me well at all, you know I do have a certain predilection for being a know-it-all. In recent years, I've curbed back my tendencies because--believe it or not--I've realized that I don't know it all. I've accepted that I don't know it all. And I have never claimed, in recent days, that I know everything. (Because really, who knows everything? And to be honest, who on earth would be crazy enough to want to know everything?)

On a random and only semi-related note, after I introduced my Dad to the Harry Potter books, he spent three months or so teasingly calling me Hermione. Except he pronounced it Her-me-own, despite my insistence on its pronunciation of Her-my-oh-knee. Looking back, I realize that teenage me did not realize for far too long that I was reinforcing his teasing.

I'll admit I'm a wealth of useless information. I can still sing the entire theme song to Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers. I can quote pretty much the entirety of How the Grinch Stole Christmas verbatim. If I've seen it or read it, I can recall particular lines or particular parts of text that impressed me when I first read or saw it.

But recently, I've decided that my apparent know-it-all-ness tends, in my case, to lead to providing information for other people. To clarify: I don't mind. But knowing a lot of information leads to requests to either a) be provided information or b) be led to information. (And I'll be honest. I only provide information to a certain point before setting people free with a road map to the info. Teach a man to fish and all that.)

So I'm resolving, this year, to be stupid. Or to appear stupid. Or, at the very least, not to give the impression of having more knowledge than I actually have. We'll see how well it works out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ballerina Bunny Bag

Oh, that I had a camera. Because if I had a camera, I would take a picture of my ballerina bunny bag and post it here. Instead, you'll have to settle with a description. I periodically forget that I still have it, but I can't help smiling every time I come across it.

My ballerina bunny bag is small. It's pink. And it has a lace-fringed heart stitched onto it. A cross-stitched ballerina bunny, more or less en-pointe, occupies the center of the heart. She's wearing a blue tutu, blue toe shoes, and she has a blue bow in her hair.

I have had this bag for almost twenty years. My mom made it for me when I started ballet lessons. (I believe I was five. Maybe six.) I used to carry my own shoes in it. And my, how I loved this ballerina bunny bag. Really, I still love this ballerina bunny bag.

Like my printer, it has served many functions. I didn't last very long in ballet, so the ballerina bunny bag became a book-carrying ballerina bunny bag I used to take down to the Bookmobile. As I recall, my voracious reading habits threatened to split the seams more than once. But my mom always mended the bag, and I kept finding inventive ways of packing ten or more books into it.

I've carried notebooks in it. I've moved it to every new place with me. Much to my dismay, if I couldn't find a different bag, it sometimes came with me to my first job. ("Really," she would say, "Isn't it time to get rid of that?") I've come to agree that it's probably not something to carry around anymore, but I will never get rid of it. And this is why: my mother made it for me.

She's a skilled seamstress and adept with a needle, so I'm sure that neither the cross-stitching nor the sewing took her long. But it was, nevertheless, an hour or two (if even that) that she took to make something for me. An hour or two when she had five little children, each of us with five different sets of activities.

This bag has a tendency to pop up, sometimes seemingly from nowhere, when I feel as though I've been ignored or as though I'm inadequate or as though nobody really knows me personally in quite the way I wish they would or could. It pops up when I feel disliked or un-loved. And every time, it serves as a visible reminder of one earthly person who has always loved me and who knows me and accepts me.

Any time I mention it, Mom begs me to get rid of it. But I can't. It's a visible reminder of a parent's love and I just can't let that go. I rather imagine that once I have a child, they will hear the story of a magically appearing ballerina bunny bag. And then they will see the proof. It's an odd thing to keep as a keepsake, I'm sure.

But how many tangible reminders do we get? And how easily can we let them go?