From the time I was 17 on, I only saw my parents 3-4 times a year. They worked and lived overseas while I was in boarding school and then college in Arizona. Our time together was precious and never long enough. I believe they made up for the distance, the absence and maybe a sense of abandonment they felt by showering me with material things and checks.
For a while, I liked it.
What greedy teenager wouldn’t?
I would pine for something and get it. I will be the first to admit I was spoiled and still have selfish tendencies because of it.
But there came a moment, sometime around my Sophomore year of college that I didn’t like the “gifts” and even began refusing the checks my father would try to hand me with tears in his eyes at the airport upon saying goodbye.
It started to feel like guilt money. I tried to explain my feelings, but they said I was being crazy.
I swore I wouldn’t do this to my children.
Funny how as parents we do that a lot, huh?
In the weeks leading up to our recent move and as we have been settling in, I have overindulged Lucas with more treats and cars and other toys than I care to fess up to. I wanted the transition to be a smooth one for him and I thought the gifts would help. He’s done fantastic. Of course. All he really cares about is that his family; mommy, daddy, puppy and fishy are all together under the same roof.
I have had to bring Lucas along with me to dozens of doctor’s appointments in the last few months and when he waits patiently (WAY more patient than I ever am) by my side, I feel the need to reward him with the toys he asks for. All he really cares about is spending time with mommy.
I learned a long time ago that I cannot take Lucas with me to the supermarket, Target or any other establishment that sells toys because he gets a terrible case of the gimmes and I fall prey each and every time, buying him more crap he doesn’t really need.
The stuff is not only a waste of money, it’s a poor excuse for my love and praise and he doesn’t need a million toys. I know there’s a I want him to have a better childhood than I did thing going on, but the truth is I had a full and rich childhood and I wanted for nothing. I was blessed.
I need to break this cycle now and get more creative with my affections. I need to learn to say no and not be so weak and cave when he says please, Mommy in that sweet little boy voice I know will soon change.
His dad and I do our best to teach our son about gratitude and being thankful for the things he has but my continuous buying doesn’t help.
It’s hard when everything is a negotiation with a three year old and you want to give him the world and that’s why I have decided starting Monday, April 1, because Sunday is Easter and I have already made up an Easter basket for Lucas, I am going to go on a one month, no buying strike. No toys, no games, no Matchbox cars, no packages of Micro Drifters, no sweets, no books, no plastic junk. I will post updates here on my progress.
We are going to rediscover toys Lucas already has and spend quality time together playing games and visiting the library and parks and having good old fashioned play dates. We are going to get back to basics and I will be weak no more. Wish me luck!