So Richard and I were driving in the car today...I say...so when you met me, did you think you would end up married to me and I'd be pregnant with your second kid? Such a girl question, but my ever so patient husband answers with....no way, you were way too stuck up. This I have to agree with, but my ever so thoughtful response was...hey, you were the one with the "lines and swoosh". Poor Richard really liked his hair gel back in those days and...yes...add the lovely comb through when he was done. It was awful...I banned it shortly after we started dating. I then added...see we have made each other better people...which he says...so you aren't stuck up anymore? And what can I say, but...well, not as stuck up as I was ;)
It is totally not my fault. Other recent conversations have included this very topic...Gen Y. Yup, I'm a part of it..go ahead make your comments. Yes I want to make a ton of money and no I don't want to work for it. Yes I want to do what I want when I want and no I don't want to answer to anyone for it. Blah, blah, freakin' blah. I've heard it all...including a lovely pamphlet that Deloitte circulated while I worked there, so that people would know how to "manage" people like me. How this sounded like a good idea at the time is still beyond me, but I guess "insulting" is a characteristic that I'll add to that generation. But in all seriousness, is it really my fault? Can you point your finger at an entire generation and just say that they were "bad eggs"...spoiled maybe...but can you spoil yourself??? Um, I think not. I point the finger at my parents! :) Yes, I'm sure this is what a therapist will do someday when I realize that I need drugs or some sort of psychoanalysis. So why not start now. It is totally THEIR fault. I didn't shelter myself or spoil myself...until I made way too much money for my age...so can you blame someone for their upbringing? And not just theirs, but an ENTIRE generation's upbringing.
It took me a long time to appreciate what I have. I think it comes with age, but it also comes with parenthood. I never had to keep a job in high school or pay for my own insurance. I never got an allowance and pretty much just heard "just don't tell your father" any time I asked for something. But I never learned what a dollar really meant. Never learned how much $150K could really buy you. Never realized how long it was going to take to pay off $20K in student loans (which I would like to remind everyone got me a Master's I used for 2 years and then decided to have babies and stay home..smart). Looking back on it...it was when all the fluff was taken away that I really figured out what you need in life and how to get it when you are struggling to get by....referencing my "blink of an eye" part-time job to pay for Corbin's prescription formula. My real question is how do I avoid letting Corbin hit these same speed bumps in life? How do I teach him appreciation?
With that being said, what kind of pitfalls are we setting our kids up for...with our "natural" parenting, no TV, no junk food, preshool at 6 months (really 2 years, but still). We recently finished Corbin's "big boy room". Like the nursery...it is way over the top. If you know me personally, you really can't be all that surprised. The theme is planes, trains, and automobiles. New paint, new bed, new train table...he loves it. Everytime he wakes up from his crib...he asks to go to his room. We just got the mattress today, so the transition from crib to bed will start any day now. In this new phase of his life, he has also taken on a new best friend, Sunshine. Sunshine is a bear that Richard and I bought from a bed and breakfast in Sonoma, CA and named Sonny (obviously after Sonoma)....Corbin decided it should be Sunshine instead. It has been sitting on our bathroom floor since Corbin was born and he hasn't even taken a second look at him. Now all of a sudden, he can't leave his crib, room, or the house without Sunshine. All I have to say is...do you want to go take a nap with Sunshine?....and he's up the stairs trying to climb in his crib. Seriously...it's insane. I recently looked at Sunshine's tag to see if I could get a duplicate for the inevitable day where he is left on a park bench, soaked by an afternoon rain, or eaten by a neighborhood dog. No such luck....simply stated on the tag...made exclusively for the Four Sister's Inn. Damn!
The funny thing is.....every mother I know has told me to do this. It was my first instinct to find another Sonny to avoid the meltdown that will come the day he is gone forever. Is that sheltering him? I know that's an extreme...its a freakin' lovey for god's sake, not the war in Iraq. But in these first few years, a mother always wants to catch their baby when they fall, but it is impossible to teach them to walk without letting them fall down. This carries forward. I feel like I'm watching Corbin's life from a high rise building and can see the bumps he'll find in his road, but he can't see them. I could obviously warn him, but will he actually listen? Will he avoid the wall he's run into 700 times? Will he study hard or choose to party? Will he save that extra dollar or buy a beer? I made all the choices my mother told me not to. Went against anything my father told me to do. And I learned appreciation the "hard" way...or should I say the "only" way. You can't teach someone how to appreciate. One of the hardest things in life is to watch your child make the mistakes you made and not being able to help them avoid the pain that comes along with them. My job as a parent is to pick him back up again when he trips over the hose :) To make sure he keeps trying when he doesn't make the team the first time. To grab a tissue the first time the stuck up chick snubs him for having "lines and swoosh". :) There are so many life lessons that can't be taught, but must be learned, must be seen for yourself. Sheltering your child is only robbing them of the experience. We all learn to appreciate what we have on our own time and in our own way. I have Richard and Corbin to thank for it. You realize that you have exactly what you need and are exactly where you are supposed to be....when you wake up every morning thinking...Oh my god, I am so lucky :)