L = Lessons Learned

I think the vast majority of us can point to specific experiences in our lives that have left indelible marks that have affected us forever.  For me, one of those experiences happened at the very tender age of 5 years old.

It was Christmas time and all I wanted more than anything in the world was a doll-house. I dog-earred the Eaton’s and Simpson’s Christmas catalogues, wrote letters to Santa, and generally nattered incessantly about it.

doll-house

Google image

Christmas morning arrived and I raced downstairs to see what Santa had left under the tree.  Nothing suggested a doll-house.  My heart started to sink.  My mom told me that my doll-house had fallen off Santa’s sleigh during the night while he was making deliveries.  I stared at her incredulously – what bad luck!  Why me?

I remember so clearly my next thought which I dared not say out loud – how could he be so careless?

I was absolutely devastated.

Once I got over my initial disappointment, I became confident that Santa would make it right and each day that passed, I waited patiently for my doll-house to arrive.  Nothing.

I am a March baby, and by the time my birthday came and went without a doll-house my 5-year-old heart started to understand a bitter lesson.  It was my first inkling that I would not be able to depend on anyone for the things I really wanted.  I mean, if you can’t rely on Santa, who’s left?

My mom said that Santa was a busy man and I was only one child of so very many.  That comment only served to make me feel insignificant and a little more than selfish. It re-enforced my suspicion that no one was going to hand me what I wanted on a silver platter. It seemed if I really wanted something, I was going to have to ensure I could get it myself.

I even tried to run away from home with all my belongings in a pillow case loaded on a toboggan.  I was striking out on my own and made it 2 blocks away before my older sister caught up with me and dragged me home.

That attitude has served me well. It’s a difficult lesson for a 5-year-old to learn, but as it turned out, nothing has come easily in my life.  I’ve had to work very hard for everything I’ve gained.

Perhaps not getting a doll-house was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Nah – who am I kidding?  I’m still bitter.

L

April A to Z Challenge 2015

Thank you for visiting me today.  Today I have some Lava Cake for your enjoyment. Chocoholics rejoice!

Hot-Fudge-Lava-Cake

Image from lovethispic.com

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2015, Family, Memories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

86 Responses to L = Lessons Learned

  1. jannatwrites says:

    I had to laugh at the end about still being bitter 🙂 I can’t remember a let down with Santa, but I’m still disappointed the Tooth Fairy never came through for me. A girl in my class got a $5 bill for her tooth and I got coins. Not fair!

    Like

  2. treerabold says:

    Somethings aren’t easy to let go of! Darn that Santa!
    I’m glad you were able to take a lesson away from it.
    I remember searching the JCPenney catalog as a child and dreaming of all the toys I wanted. But we rarely got much of what we asked for. But I do think I had a greater appreciation for the things I did have….because we had so little in the way of toys.

    Like

  3. Helen C says:

    Interesting story, Joanne. I saved this URL and finally had a chance to read it tonight. When I grew up, most people didn’t celebrate Christmas. We didn’t even celebrate birthdays, since many families were poor. Thinking back, I didn’t learn too many lessons either… 😉

    Like

  4. This post seems to have us all thinking back to our childhood Christmas mornings…my brother and I never received much when I was child but I recall enjoying it all. However the dollhouse thing makes me realize that I too must have lusted after one – when I was in my early 30’s I bought myself a nice one from The Dollhouse Store in Toronto. I had visions of what a great hobby it would be but it was much too much work and eventually I gave it to the two girls next door! Many fantasies are not all that great in reality….

    Like

  5. I think Santa was cruel to you but you are sweet to offer lava cake – one of my favourite desserts. Is it still on offer as I am a bit late reading this post?

    Like

  6. Melanie says:

    I’m a March baby too and I notice we Marchies are pretty emo about concepts like justice. I used to cry every Christmas till I was 11 because I always felt my cousins received better presents than me. It really drove my mum up the wall hahaha.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I never really thought about it being a March thing!! … but you’re right, I am really emo about a lot of things especially where the concept of ‘fairness’ comes to play.
      Thanks for validating my feelings. I always thought I was just a big cry-baby.

      Like

  7. Sammy D. says:

    I’d be just as bitter, Joanne! Of course we can’t have everything we desire but that whopping Santa fib was beyond the pale!

    Like

  8. Alex Hurst says:

    Hey, they make those for adults, now. 😉 But yeah, I can sympathize. Though, the lie that it fell off Santa’s sleigh really went a bit far, I think… XD

    Like

  9. Mrs. P says:

    Wow…I never thought of not giving it at all and blaming Santa. I went the middle road and didn’t get the doll house but bought the doll house kit and we made it as a project, together. Turns out to be more fun than getting a doll house.

    I do remember one year getting a bike that was so uncool, I hated it. The sad part is that I knew my dad had secretly delivered the bikes to my cousin next door and assembled them all in their garage so he could surprise the three of us on Christmas morning. I was surprised alright, it was the ugliest bike I had ever seen. Every time I saw my friends on their ten speeds, I was envious but at the same time I felt so ungrateful, knowing that my dad really tried to get us something special…and missed. It took me a while to learn the lesson of gratitude.

    Like

  10. LB says:

    I’m thinking of your mother and how she must have struggled to explain why the all knowing, all good, all powerful Santa didn’t bring a doll house. Sigh …
    Thanks for sharing this story. Life changing in so many ways.

    Like

  11. OH MY…. I need that lava cake right now. For real. Hang on while I go make another coffee. Dinner can wait.

    Sorry. Five year old you. Doesn’t it make you wonder about the tales you’ve told your children and whether trying to maintain the myths is such a good idea? I was a teenager before I realised the truth behind the “we took the dog to the vet and the vet wouldn’t give her back” story I was told when I was five.

    I love that your sister came after you when you ran away and brought you back. When I ran away at the age of six, my older brother helped me tie my bag onto my bike. 😀

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      hahahaha! At least you would have gotten further on your bike than I did walking! The only reason why my sister came after me was because my mother send her. My older sister is 8 years older and considered me a royal pain in the butt. So what did bring you back eventually?

      Sometimes I can’t help but wonder how I’ve scarred my sons unintentionally by some careless words, acts, or lack thereof. There is just no accounting for what goes on in the mind of a child.

      Like

      • My mother. In the car. I’d got about a mile away. I would have gotten further but I’d made a pact with a friend to run away together and I was waiting outside her house. She never came out. I don’t know how long I was gone but I remember it being dark when they found me. I can only imagine now (as a parent) what that did to my mother. And I bet my brother was in trouble!

        Oh, I have no doubt there are things I’ve said in moments of frustration or anger that have had an unintended impact. I can only hope I’ve done enough things right that they won’t spend thousands of dollars off-loading their childhood traumas to a psychiatrist one day. :-/

        Like

  12. sinewavelife says:

    Wow! What a great post. It’s a bitter pill for someone at such a young age but you grasped the lesson. Very impressive. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks! Someday I’m going to have to have a conversation with my adult sons and see how / if I’ve scarred them in some similar way 🙂 As parents, our intentions are good, but it doesn’t always turn out as planned!

      Like

  13. I always had lists for Santa of toys that I never got. Usually, by the time Christmas rolled around and I opened my presents, I forgot what was on the list so it didn’t matter.

    OMG That lava cake looks to die for.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee’s Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I have to admit that like you, every year after that, I had lists but nothing that I felt so passionate about compared to the dollhouse.
      Glad to have someone from the Muffin Commando Squad enjoy the Lava Cake …. I love that name “Muffin Commando Squad”!!
      Thank you so much for visiting 🙂

      Like

  14. Heyjude says:

    Forget that doll’s house, gimme that lava cake – Oh Yummy Yum!! Actually another thing we have in common, I always wanted a doll’s house too and my mother used to tell me about the one her dad made for her which was big enough for her to crawl into! Imagine THAT? And no, I never got one.

    Like

  15. marianallen says:

    Mmmmmm, lava cake! ~grabby hands~

    What do you mean, “If you want some, you’ll have to make it yourself”? I guess that teaches ME a lesson!

    Good post!

    Like

  16. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Lava cake.

    Oh, wait, did you write something before the cake? My bad.

    That was cruel to say it fell off Santa’s sleigh/truck/whatever. That’s almost as bad as saying you didn’t get it because you weren’t good enough!

    Like

  17. NancyTex says:

    Judging by the current generation (Generation Entitled), I think we are all better off for having had to work hard for what we want. As much as it would be nice to get something handed to me on a silver platter ONCE IN MY LIFE, I think that if you’re one of the lucky (unlucky??) ones who has had everything come easy, the strongest character may not have been developed.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – you hit the nail on the head with ONCE IN MY LIFE!!!
      We all know by now that’s not going to happen … and the really interesting part is that I think I’ve appreciated what I had so much more for having worked hard to get it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Joanne, I’m so sorry for that 5-year-old you. That is a really sad story.

    However, I think perhaps the lack of dollhouse perhaps prepared you for your adult life with your boys/men! Not too many girly girls would do Ironman competitions, climb mountains, and drive across international borders to meet strangers at the drop of a hat, you know? As someone before me stated….I’m betting on a granddaughter for you and I just know she’ll have the biggest dollhouse available and someone to sit and play it with her most appreciatively!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – I think the men in my life would describe me as a girly-girl. Life is full of ironies 🙂
      … and driving across international borders to meet strangers is the best adventure I’ve had so far this year!

      You’re right though, I’m holding out for a grand-daughter some day so I can spoil her rotten. Sooner or later, that dollhouse is going to happen 🙂

      Like

  19. Lessons need to be learned don’t they?

    Like

  20. Lessons need to be learned don’t they? we were poor so Santa brought things like candy and tho my friends got things like phones and expensive dolls I guess I was the realist and never asked for stuff.

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  21. It’s the “fell off the sleigh” part that adds to the trauma, Joanna. Five-year old YOU couldn’t help but believe the dollhouse would have been yours if not for an accident. Seems unfair even now.

    Like

  22. Ouch! I think we’ve all had a Christmas like that. It’s tough. And, then when we’re parents, sometimes we miss the right gifts for our kids, too. At this point, I think my disappointment over one particular gift-giving year to my oldest daughter is harder. I didn’t give her a Buzz Lightyear when she was four . . . and I regret that more than I miss any presents I didn’t get.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      You’re absolutely right. There is one particular Christmas when my oldest son was quite young and I dropped the ball big time. I’ve been making up for it ever since. Ironically, I doubt he even remembers, but I DO!!

      Like

  23. LOL! What’s with Santa anyway? 😉 Well, your post reminded me of all the times I asked for things from Santa and I never got. Disappointment and want are very important lessons we learn in life. Life has never been easy for me either. What have I learned? To cherish the things that money can’t buy and to work my butt for the things that do cost money. Somehow, working for it makes it all the more special. 🙂

    Like

  24. Yeah, the truth is, I’d like to say that your parents taught you a valuable lesson, but I kind of feel like it would have been learned, dollhouse or now. I mean, in a world full of disappointments, what’s a dollhouse to show that dreams can come true sometimes??! So here’s to dollhouses…and Easy Bake Ovens!

    Like

  25. Sue Slaght says:

    Oh my heart sunk for the little five year old. That had to be very heartbreaking. I wonder how your Mom might have answered that question differently? At any rate it is often the disappointments and failures that toughen us up and make us more determined that’s for sure. No activity has ever come easy to me and that ‘stick with it’ attitude has served me well. Some would call it stubbornness but what do they know? 🙂

    Like

  26. How is it your mom knew the doll house fell off the sleigh?
    Wow. You were determined and focused at a young age, and baby, look at YOU n.o.w.! Still, a huge disappointment to a five-year-old. Great story, Joanne.

    Like

  27. Yeah, been there. I asked for Barbie and got a cheap knock off. Next Christmas I gave Santa a second chance and he still blew it. I got Madge. Close, big guy, BUT NO CIGAR. Yup, bitter then and I can taste the bitterness yet. What else is a 5 year old to do or think?
    Curses to Mattel and Sears and the myths of Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      Isn’t it awful how that bitterness is still there?!! Seriously – how badly have I scarred my children with their own versions of this story?!!!

      Based on a couple of the comments I’ve received, I’m starting to question whether this whole Santa thing is a good idea.

      Like

      • I have to agree – as adults we criticize our younger selves for being selfish or ungrateful, but we were only working with the information we had – that is, promises made – and a very poor understanding how the world really works. I think our 5 year old reactions were totally appropriate. The fact that we still feel the indelible sting, likewise.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Lynn says:

    An interesting comment from Love to Travel. Having worked in the non profit world for a number of years, I am reminded every year of those children who come from families who are not able to purchase most or any items on their child’s wishlist. I imagine the disappointment those kids must feel, especially when they return to school & hear all of their peers excitedly chattering about what Santa delivered to their home.

    I am sad for the 5 year old you who felt so very disappointed. It is a bitter life lesson for any child to learn. Perhaps you can purchase a lovely dollhouse some day when you have grandchildren!

    My mouth is watering at the chocolate lava cake! My favourite!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      The comment from Love to Travel was really an AHA moment for me too … and as I hear other people’s disappointments at some Christmas past, I’m really starting to question this Santa thing. There’s a cruelty to it – dangling a promise that often is never delivered.

      Like

  29. Purpleanais says:

    I’ve been there, and I too am still bitter 😉

    Like

  30. bkpyett says:

    Your post really moved me Joanne. I’m so sorry for that five year old you! Thank you so much for that delicious chocolate lava cake, how delectable, I loved it!! ❤

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      It’s funny how major disappointments when we’re young really stick with us … long after the adult should have let it go 🙂

      … and even though it’s still breakfast time for me, I could really go for some lava cake. That would really give my morning a bit of a rush 😉

      Like

  31. lovetotrav says:

    So sad though. This the problem with the Santa thing and I have thought about this a lot as a teacher. When kids return after Christmas and they share what Santa brought, it is clear, even to a grade 3 student, that something is amiss. I have seen how they are affected just like yourself. They feel in some way that they are less deserving and/or have been bad. It always makes me very uncomfortable as a teacher and used to as a parent.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That’s a really good point – I hadn’t considered that angle from the teacher’s perspective, but I guess you would see the effect of the haves and havenots after Christmas. That’s really sad 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  32. bulldog says:

    Yep… how much in life is learnt from such lessons…. I enjoyed this share it actually brought back memories from so many years back when Santa forgot to bring me what I’d asked for… my parents always blamed it on the post office… but now I know how poor they were and could never have bought that which I wished for… yet when they could they always tried their best to get that for which I wished… but I still think the Post Office could have done a better job, you never know what might have happened if he got my letter in time…

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Bulldog … I’m grateful that I’m not the only one disappointed as a child by Santa. It’s funny how these very early disappointments stick with us long after we should have let it go.

      Like you, I now understand how poor we were … it is doesn’t change that deep down feeling of disappointment. I too sometimes think ‘what if’ it hadn’t fallen off Santa’s sleigh …

      Like

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