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I took DD to the store with me today to do the dreaded "sundry" shopping. "Okay, vegetable oil, Pam, toothpaste, razors..." "Dad?" "Hmmm?" "You know that game system with your old favorites on it like Pac Man?" "Yeah, yeah. Why do you keep hounding me about that?" "I'm not hounding you, I just thought you'd like it." "I probably would, but it's not on the list today, okay? All right, charcoal, 60-watt lightbulbs, scotch tape, mousse..." She disappears for a minute and comes back with the game, carefully placing it into the cart. "What are you doing?" "I've been saving up and I wanted to get it for you. I have my wallet." "Sweetie, you don't have to..." "I want to." "But..." "Dad, I have enough and I want to."

It's not terribly often that I'm utterly speechless, but she's pulled it off. "Well...okay...thanks." It doesn't come out right at all. It sounds weak. I wonder what my problem is and it slowly dawns on me. I'm just not used to getting things. In the upside-down world of my childhood home, we had to get what we wanted on our own for the most part. I learned how to hustle and wheel and deal, which was fine as far as it goes, but I was awfully jealous of friends and neighbors who got little trinkets from time to time for no particular reason. Half the time the old man wanted us to buy HIM little goodies. I remember being blackmailed into it a time or two. On other occasions, gifts came with strings. Heaping mounds of guilt. Consequently, this generous, love-filled offer feels somewhat foreign and I don't know how to respond. I do my best to explain to her, leaving out a few things so as not to put her much-loved grandfather in a bad light and she seems to understand. "Mom told me you didn't get much when you were a kid, so I get it. I love you, Daddy."

I love you, dear child.

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