January 15, 2018:

My mother gave me a toy cash register. It had keys to press, made a ca-ching! sound, and I think would actually total up actual sums.

I loved it. I sat in the shade beneath my little urban tree playing with it for hours.

There was a little girl who lived nearby who loved it even more. She loved it. She sat fascinated pushing buttons, watching sums pop up behind little plastic windows, making the little plastic cash drawer open. She loved it so much it was like she wanted to crawl inside it so that it enveloped her completely and the world went away. It made her so happy!

It made her much happier than it did me. I loved seeing her so happy. Seeing her happy made me happy. So I gave it to her. She was soooooo happy! Her joy over that gift made me light up inside. Giving it to her made me so much more happy than the thing itself ever had.

My mother was furious. You can't go giving your things away! I had to work for that! In hindsight I imagine it might have been fairly expensive for her budget of the time. It was pretty sophisticated. But really it was the principle. She'd bought it for me, not for that little girl.

That baffled me. Isn't the point of presents to make the recipient happy? It made me happier to give it away than to keep it. Isn't an object one's own property once it's given, so that now one can do with it what one chooses? Well, that's what I chose.

Her attitude made no sense to me. I'm sure she was terribly frustrated.