The Polaroid That Wasn’t

Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, I’ve got a few holiday stories to share with you.  Just in case I’ve got any new readers, MrsTDJ is an only child with a pair of the best parents ever.  But, as if often the case, looks can be deceiving and there were a few times growing up when I let the smooth taste fool me.  I didn’t often up act.  Why? Mainly because I didn’t have a reason to and I was terrified of my parents.  Hell, I was a good kid and my family spoiled me.  **shrugs**  No reason to sugar coat that or pretend that I wasn’t.  Every now and then though, I’d act a fool.  Yeah, it happens to the best of us.  Kids are inherently dumb.  Even the brightest most intelligent ones are apt to make the kind of choices that make you question your earlier assessment of their mental acuity.  “She did what?”  “MrsTDJ?  Seriously?”  Yes, seriously.

So, picture it – the holiday season of 1984, I was 8 and I was soooooo excited Christmas.  My parents would let me look at the annual J.C. Penney Sears toybook and fold back the pages on the things I liked.  I can’t remember everything that I wanted that year, but I do know that a Care Bear, a Rubik’s Cube, a Cabbage Patch horse and a Polaroid camera were high on the list.  Maybe I was so excited that Christmas was coming that I lost my mind a little in the classroom.  For a stretch of about 2 weeks, I just stopped doing my homework.  WTH?  Yeah, like THAT wouldn’t get back to my parents.  And, um, yeah my mom was president of the PTA and in the school at least twice a week.  **shaking my head** Just how smart was I at that moment in time?

Anyway, my teacher never sent a note home and didn’t call the house, as far as I could tell.  I walked home from school and always brought the mail in, so I knew I hadn’t missed any letters.  This was in the days before caller ID, so maybe she had called and I missed it, but I was naive and over-confident that she hadn’t.  Leading up to Christmas, my parents and I continued all of our normal holiday traditions like tree shopping together, singing carols in the neighborhood, baking cookies for family and friends, etc.   After spending a few hours with other family members, I returned home the weekend before Christmas to find the area under and around the tree overflowing with presents. YES!!!! Christmas couldn’t come soon enough!!

One of our family traditions was to open our stockings and one small gift on Christmas Eve.  I don’t remember what my parents opened, but my stocking was filled with new books like Ramona Quimby and Curious George.   I opened a box that contained this:

Yeah baby!!! Film for a Polaroid camera that I didn’t own yet, so it must be under the tree for Christmas!!  Woo hoo!!!  I could hardly sleep that night thinking about all the pictures I’d be taking of our family on Christmas day.  Bright and early Christmas morning, I sprung from bed, woke my parents and sprinted down to the living time to tackle the mound of presents that had been there me.  As I turned the corner, I stopped short and my breath caught in my chest.  Da hell????  Where did all the presents go????  We had gone to bed to a room full of presents and now they had almost all disappeared.

I spun on my heels and yelled for my parents, “We’ve been robbed.  Santa or somebody took our presents!”  Yeah, funny now, right?  Santa?  Santa stole your presents??

My parents shook their heads and said, “No, we haven’t been robbed.  That big one there in the front is for you.”

One?  Hmmmm.  Maybe they had decided to wrap everything in one huge box.  Seemed kinda crazy to me at 8, but hey, parents did strange things. I rushed over to my box and began tearing at the paper.  I ripped that box open and there was another box.  Ok, let’s repeat.  I did that 5 times.  You know, something like this on the inside:

Inside the final, small box was a white envelope.  Now remember, I’m 8 years old.  At this point, I’m all kinds of confused and a little frustrated.  I want my freaking camera and my dang toys!  I tore the envelope and about 2 dozen Polaroid pictures fall out.  Of my parents. Wrapping my gifts. My Care Bear. My Rubik’s Cube. My Cabbage Patch pony. And my Polaroid. Then, photos of them all pretty under the tree. Then photo’s of them being loaded into our Volvo. Photos of them being taken into the Salvation Army shelter that was near my elementary school.

Damn. I might have preferred a lump of coal.

And no, they didn’t give me back any of those gifts.  Books and pencils were sufficient for the child who didn’t know how blessed she was.  They told me that my only job was school and since I didn’t want to focus and do well in school, they wouldn’t be focusing on providing me with any extras.  After performing well the rest of the school  year, I did eventually get a Polaroid camera the following Christmas.

MamaTDJ and DaddyTDJ go hard, in the paint, to the hole, EACH AND EVERY TIME.


60 thoughts on “The Polaroid That Wasn’t

  1. OMG I love it!!! My parents did something similar one year when we were “bad” (nothing like these kids these days, but not perfect angels, as per uj). I never forgot the lesson!

    Happy Holidays 🙂

  2. Daaaaaaaaaaaamn. That is MESSED UP! Hilarious but straight-up messed up. And so involved, with the picture-taking and driving the toys to the Salvation Army and wrapping the pictures. I love it though. Do you think they were laughing as they did it? Like “We’re gonna teach that little brat a lesson she’ll never forget” while rubbing their hands together manically. I’m an only child too, by the way. Sup.

  3. Wow…I love it. That’s some serious parenting…caring more about the lesson than some hurt feelings…again, I love it. I hope I never have to do anythign similar, but I wouldn’t hesistate if I need to.

    • Serious parenting. They knew how heartbroken I’d be and no parents ever WANTS to harm their child, but I’m so glad they understood the big picture. I appreciate ever moment that they’ve ever “hurt” me in order to make me into the person I am today. And yep, let when LittleTDJ loses his mind for a minute, I’ll be going to my memory banks for the most appropriate lesson for his azz!

  4. Wow. Your parents were hard core! Lol! They made SURE they taught you a lesson. That story was too entertaining! I bet you never missed a homework assignment again!

  5. Wow, that was an excellent story and you know I could see your mom and dad doing that to you because they are the no nonsense kinda parents I remember. I give them their props because they did exactly what you deserved “little girl”. More parents should learn from this but, as usual we don’t. Love it!

    • Funny you say that – hubby calls us the Huxtables! *lol* As I watch old Cosby episodes, I definitely can draw parallels and I’ve got plenty more stories to share.

  6. That brought tears to my eyes. That was wrong! I know they meant well but how disappointing for you. I’m surprised you didn’t act up even more. Well, at least you got your Polaroid after all.

    • I was disappointed in the moment, but I appreciate it for what it was. Even through the tears, I realized that I was dead WRONG for not turning in that homework. I’ll be using similar tactics with my son.

  7. TDJ…I just can’t with your parents. This was some well thought out, Cosby Show type of mess right there. The nesting boxes, the film teaser, it’s all so….poetic. Hard in the paint, indeed. Hard in the paint indeed…

    • Wasn’t it? We’ve laughed about it over the years, but I’ve never asked them how long it took them to hatch this plan and execute. And, I’ve always wanted to know who got the ball rolling – Mom or Dad? Me thinks Moms was the ringleader!

  8. Wow we need more parents like yours! That is some old skool Gangsta for you A@$ ! A bunch of spoiled, entitled , self-absorbed children who then grow up and terrorize the rest of us are in pre-production right now ! LOL

    • LMAO @ in pre-production! I love that and I’m stealing it. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I keep telling my mother that she needs to start a parenting boot camp.

  9. Hats off, a big loud round of applause and a 5 minute standing ovation to your parents!!! I hope that you can see that the lesson was well taught and well learned.

    I have had some similar situations multiplied by 4 children. Your parents did not have a handbook that addressed your behavior. Your parents had love, common sense and the knowledge of God to get them through all of your good ness and your “strayings”. Oh, and did I mention they had a GREAT sense of humor? Bwaaahaaahaaa!

    I knew that I had been separated from my parenting twins. Thank you for helping me find them.

    • Most definitely! The lesson was CEMENTED into my brain.
      How are earth did you stay sane with 4?? Whew goodness. I’d be scared of the devilishness that you and they could collaborate on.

  10. LOLOLOLOL!! That is hilarious!!! I would miss at least one project a year. it was I won’t say expected but accepted? I needed more pressure from my parents b/c I’m smart but a bit naturally lazy. Anyway I missed some events I really wanted to attend as a result.

  11. That was extra hard in the paint right there! Your parents get major cool points for that one. I’d pull it on Buddha if he acted like that. My aunt canceled my little cuz’s Christmas because he wouldn’t bring his grades up. She took him to the store with her while she returned EVERY SINGLE ITEM. And he had Playstation 2 games, a new MP3 player and a few other gadgets. Bet that’s a lesson learned.

    • Extra hard, ok? High five to your Auntie. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. And like you said – you’d do it to Buddha if he needed it. I’m hoping LittleTDJ doesn’t, but if he does? It’s going DOWN!

    • Yep, cried a damn RIVER! For about 15 minutes. I was truly devastated. But I knew deep down that I was wrong and that I deserved punishment. By the time we saw the rest of my family to celebrate Christmas, I was fine.

  12. Go Mom and Dad. LMAO!!! Hilarious at you for thinking Santa stole your presents. Classic.

    I’ve been guilty of threatening my kids that they wont get a DARN thing for the holidays due to them slacking in school, but never following through. I suck!!! It’s like what kid, when you know birthday’s or the holiday is right around the corner, isn’t going to be on there BEST behavior. Many kids apparently. Lol My little teenage chick over here had nerve enough to tell me she went from an A to a C in her Japanese class on Friday…. UGH!!!! At least she told me…but if I was a kid I’d wait till AFTER the presents. Lol

    • Oh yeah, the best of the best comes out prior to most big events. I don’t know what the heck came over me just before Xmas. **smh** Come on Mama, we need you to make good on some of those threats. =)

  13. OH SHEYET! Why did my hand fly to mouth when I read that your toys were packed into the Volvo and driven to Salvation Army?? I would have DIED! Just died! Dang, your parents were NOT playing. Bless your heart. LOL!

    • Exactly! It was definitely a HARD lesson and they’ve told me over the years how much it hurt to see my face in that moment, but they were steadfast and united that the greater good was being done.

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