Surprise!

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I’m sprawled out on Saige’s bed, writing a history report for school. 9th grade is tough. The contents of my backpack are spread everywhere.

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Mom calls my name. “Tracy!” I slide off the bed and head towards the sound.

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I enter the living room where Mom is waiting. “I have something for you,” she tells me.

What could it be? I wonder. A new phone case? A call from my teacher saying that I’m obviously the smartest kid in class?

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Mom hands me a package wrapped in brown paper. “Surprise!” she sings.

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I take it from her.

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What could it be? I think again as I sit down. It’s definitely not anything I had guessed. Way too heavy for a phone case. And you don’t wrap up phone calls.

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“Open it!” Mom encourages me. So I tear a little hole at the bottom.

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And then I tear a little more. All of sudden, I know what it is.

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I unwrap the rest of it and hold her up.

“A doll.”

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I rip her out of the box.

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I jump up and twirl around the room with her, laughing all the while.

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I’m staring into her sweet hazel eyes when Mom asks nervously, “Do you like her? I mean, I know you’re fourteen, and dolls might not be your thing , but –“

I interrupt her. “She’s perfect,” I assure her. I hope I sound as excited as I feel!

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I go back to my room with my new doll in one hand and her book tucked under my other arm.

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I push my school supplies out of the way and sit down. Homework can wait!

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I try her name out. “Rebecca,” I whisper.

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I head over to a dresser where I know some hair supplies are kept.

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I dig around in the second drawer until I find it: a small purple comb.

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I go back to Rebecca, armed with a comb and squirt bottle.

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Then I set to work on her curls.

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I hug her against my chest, then hold her back and whisper, “I love you, Rebecca.”

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