This year marks the first Christmas ever that G hasn't wanted any toys. I saw it coming last year, when her list started to veer away from toys toward other things, but this year, none at all. Instead, she wants a video flip cam and Sims 2 expansion packs and lots of movies. She wants an iPod Touch. She wants some purple fingerless gloves and a matching scarf she saw at Claire's. She wouldn't be averse to clothes if they were the right kind. (Wanting the "right kind" of clothes, which to her means dark skinny jeans and hoodies and Converse-style sneakers and anything with peace signs on it, is also a new thing this year. At least she doesn't care about the actual labels yet.) The one toy-like item she asked for is the Clue board game, which I will get her even though she'll have to invite friends over to play it -- she and I have trouble with board games because most of them are designed for three or more players, and there are only two of us.
I haven't said so to her, but all this has caused me to reminisce soppily about her first Christmas, when she was not quite a year old and had just started toddling, and her presents were wooden puzzles and Sesame Street videos (no DVDs yet then) and board books galore. She had recently said her first word, which was "cat," and when a relative gave her a tiny faux-leopard fur coat on Christmas night, she looked into the box with a bewildered expression and asked "Cat?" which made everyone around her fall over laughing. And I can't help wondering where that curly-haired baby went, or wishing her father were here to wonder and remember too.
I used to think it must be hard to live a very long life, 100 years or more, because eventually you would be the only one who remembered your past: everyone else would either be dead or wouldn't have been born yet. Now I have an idea how that must feel. There are plenty of people who remember Christmas 1999, but no one in this world but me remembers sitting in the living room of our apartment on that sunny December morning, helping baby G play with her new toys. No one at all.