Even when I was little, I had ridiculous, soaring expectations... soaring like a toy rocket that is destined to crash in the neighbor's gutter.
I remember one year in particular, the year I figured out that there really was no Santa and no enchanted workshop at the North Pole where elves built toys.
I had asked for a dollhouse. In my mind, I pictured a handmade, wooden Victorian dollhouse with real miniature cedar shingles, tiny brass door hinges and diminutive silk draperies hanging majestically over real, working windows that I could open and shut. I thought it would be about four feet high and have at least three stories, with a grand staircase. It would be painted Victorian red, with gingerbread trim, and it would blend perfectly with all of our red and green Christmas decorations. Perhaps I had seen something like this at the state fair. I don't know.
On Christmas morning, I awoke and ran to the living room to see the beautiful dollhouse that Santa had brought me.
It was plastic.
Actually, it wasn't even really plastic. I think it was some sort of heavy cardboard covered with vinyl. There was not a speck of wood or fabric on it, certainly no brass. The windows were printed on the vinyl walls. It was predominantly blue. It smelled like polyurethane.
There were no doors. The front of the house snapped up like a suitcase, or you could unsnap it and lay it flat to play with the open house.
I sadly snapped it and unsnapped it. Clearly this had not been made by an elf. Clearly Santa was a myth. Clearly I should never hope for a dream to be fulfilled again.
Even in my childhood, I was a pessimist.
I didn't say anything though. I didn't want to hurt my parents' feelings. It wasn't their fault there was no Santa Claus.