After Maria and Conchita got home from the hospital, Maria tucked Conchita in her yellow and white plaid, canopy bed. Maria took one last look at Conchita and closed the door behind her, the cover to the canopy lifting and then sagging back down, like a sail rippling in the wind.
Maria wearily made her way into her bedroom she shared with Eric. She went inside her walk-in closet, and on her tiptoes gathered Conchitaâ€™s big, surprise, Christmas gift from the top of the closet. She had wrapped all the other gifts except the monumental offering, a Sony tape recorder. Conchita loved music, and Maria and Eric had always encouraged this interest.
Each Christmas, Maria always tried to stay within her budget, especially the last five years, now that finances had gotten tighter. Conchitaâ€™s first several Christmases, Maria had overspent.
She wanted the best for Conchita, and in Mariaâ€™s mind, the most expensive gifts somehow compensated for Mariaâ€™s insecurities about having to work all the time and not spending enough time with Conchita.
Her budget of $150 per Christmas was modest, but she was able to stretch it as best she could. She found Conchitaâ€™s favorite gifts were the ones that cultivated Conchitaâ€™s interests. This year it was the TR6 Sony tape recorder.