This is a bittersweet childhood memory from a highly sensitive person.
When I was a little girl, maybe 5 years old, I visited my aunt’s house for a family get-together. She lived next to a small pond. There were lots of family members there, and all of us kids spent most of our time standing and sitting on a giant wooden raft that floated around the little pond.
When my mom and I first arrived at my aunt’s house, my grandma was there, and she called me over and gave me a doll. I still remember it. It was a unique-looking cloth doll, maybe something you’d get at a craft show. I loved it. It was one of the only times I remember getting a gift just for me from my grandma (mainly because she had so many grandkids and we weren’t that close). I was so happy and thought it was so nice that she thought about me and bought it just for me. She didn’t give it to me because she had to (like for Christmas or a birthday). It was just because she cared about me…and loved me.
Later that day, I went out on the raft with the other kids, and somehow, the doll went missing. I assume I accidentally dropped it in the pond, even though I had tucked it into my life jacket. I was devastated. My grandma had gone out of her way to give me this gift and I lost it. I remember begging my mom if there was a way we could somehow search the pond for the doll. And I can’t believe that even today, my eyes well up as I’m typing this. All over a doll!
But it was not just a doll. I was crushed. To me, her giving me that gift was like a gesture of love and caring. And by losing it, it was like I threw that love away–like I treated it like it wasn’t important. At least, that’s how it felt in my 5-year-old heart.
The truth is, when someone does something personal and unexpectedly kind for me, it touches me very deeply. It’s hard to admit it sometimes, because it makes me sound soft or weak. Even small gestures can affect me greatly. It wasn’t until I learned about being Highly Sensitive that it all made sense.