It wasn’t much really, just a package of pink checkered sheets mom had brought back from one of her shopping trips. They would fit just right on my twin bed, bottom bunk, under sister Linda’s top bunk.
“For your favorite color,” mom had whispered as she handed me the package.
Somehow mom had remembered I really liked pink, so that’s what made a big difference out of a small thing. To other kids, this might be an ordinary household item. It was rare for us to get out-of-the blue presents beyond birthdays and Christmas so this day was special and not just for me. Sister Linda got yellow checkered sheets for her love of that color and sister Laurie got green for the same reason. Even though we thought she hadn’t been paying attention, mom had captured a small part of our personality in those sheets.
I opened the package and breathed in the faint smell of plastic, like a new baby doll and knew I would treasure these linens unlike any other ordinary household item.
I unfolded the pillow case and drew in another breath. This time the aroma was a mixture of cotton and preservatives. The old pillowcase looked dingy and dirty sitting at the head of my bed. I grabbed the pillow, ripped off the old case, and tenderly dressed the pillow in pink. It was a stamp of my identity in what seemed to be lost among the personalities of my other siblings. I was pink. What did that mean exactly? That mom recognized my love for dolls and dresses even though I often wore jeans and climbed trees? How was I different from Linda who was yellow like the tennis balls she hit against our garage door? Pink to me meant ballerinas, similar to the one twirling around in a jewelry box grandpa had given me as a Christmas present. I jumped off the bed and went to the dresser I shared with my siblings. I took the jewelry box that had been sitting on top of the dresser and found a place for it near the pillow. This would be its new home.