choices (about candy, Barbies and respect)
MissAttitude is sleeping peacefully next to me, and when I move to stretch my back a little, she reaches my arm with her hand, looking for mamas comfort as she needs to make sure I am right there. I look at her and I remember the outburst some hours before.
“When I am older, I am going to have all the candy I want! And I will play with Barbies and… and… and I am going to eat in McDonalds everyday!” She screams.
“Very well then, suit yourself,” I tell her, while I am cleaning the kitchen counter.
“You are a horrible mother! And I don’t like you anymore!!” upset that I am not getting upset with her.
The attitude on this 7 year old is remarkable…
I don’t even look at her – I just need to let her have it, let her vent her frustration. Because no, in my house there is no candy, no soda, no anorexic dolls and we don’t eat at McDonalds.
My house, my rules. Period.
Eventually she comes down and her anger becomes a gentle sobbing as she tries to change strategy. Now is my moment; my moment to go down on my knees, to look straight into her eyes, to caress her hair and fill her up with kisses., and to put some sense on her.
To teach my daughter.
LittleDumbass sneaks into my bed and in some minutes both are sound asleep, their noises filling up the bedroom. Now I am right awake. As I look at them I wonder what kind of people will this two be in the future – what is the legacy I am leaving to them?
How my children will remember me?
I am a single mother and I have been raising these two on my own basically since day one. I realize they never asked to come to this world; it was my choice to bring them here, and is my responsibility to ensure they thrive in live. But in my world thriving doesn’t meant spoiling – to my daughter’s despair, apparently. We have been through so much already that is difficult sometimes to stay on the right path.
Do we give too much? Do we give enough?
Somebody told me some days ago that children on well-off environments tend to grow up to be spoiled, disrespectful and lazy, that they took everything for granted as adults. I completely disagreed with the generalization of that statement and he dared me to put an example to prove him wrong.
“The three of us – my sister, my brother and I – have been educated in private schools. A taxi drove my sister everyday to kindergarden; I even went to boarding school in La Garriga for Christ sake! Every Saturday we used to go to the Country Club. My sister and my brother played hockey, and I skated. My dad played tennis and my mom sat on the pool when she wasn’t playing with him.”
He lowers his eyes with a smirk on his face.
“My parents made the choice to give us the best they could give, but make no mistake: absolutely NOTHING came for granted: did I need new school books – or underwear, or glasses, or whatever – I had them right away. Did I want to get some cash for my things? Man! I had to work hard for it. Since I was 16 I had to help in my dad’s office, I had to run the shittiest errands; I even washed for my neighbors sometimes… I busted my balls all the time just to get some pocket money. You need something? you got it; you want something? work for it! Never, at any time, my parents spoiled us… that was their choice for their children.”
So it is all about choices – again.
I choose to be the best provider for my children, I choose to teach them discipline instead of punishment, to be respectful instead of being condescending, to be tolerant instead of judgmental. I choose to teach them that you can choose to be a victim or learn from experiences. That nothing is ever for granted, that life is not easy but we shape it as we want it. That the goodness of our hearts is more powerful tool we possess as humans. That real values have NOTHING to do with money.
So these are my choices when raising my children. That I will succeed or fail, that they will become the people I expect them to be… well, that, time will tell.
I just hope they will choose wisely.