When I was a child, I longed for one thing, and one thing only, for Christmas. Year after year, I ran down the stairs on Christmas morning and scanned the boxes, looking for the one that would be the answer to all my hopes and prayers. And year after year, I was sorely disappointed.
What I wanted wouldn't actually fit in a box under the tree, however, so what I was looking for was proof that my real present was waiting for me in the backyard, or down the street. You see, like many little girls and boys, all I wanted was a pony or a horse of my own. I ripped open larger boxes, hoping to uncover a halter, the way 16-year-olds rip open smaller boxes, hoping for a set of car keys. It was my only focus.
|Image by Jessica Gale|
After all the gifts were opened, I waited for my mom or dad to say, "Oh, we forgot one. Hana, we left one for you out in the backyard." In my mind, I rehearsed how I'd act nonchalant and say, "Really? You already got me so much. I can't imagine anything else you'd have for me." And then I'd casually walk outside, my heart beating like the sound of hooves pounding the ground in a full canter, and feign surprise as I wrapped my arms around the neck of my equine-dream-come-true. Instead, what I'd hear was, "Who wants breakfast?" and my dreams came crashing down around me.
Eventually, in my final years of high school, I gave up. I settled for riding lessons, horse camp, and going around town atop friends' horses or driving friends' pony carts.
I learned early on that we don't always get what we want, despite our heartfelt pleas and dream boards. While dream boards weren't necessarily called that back in the 60s and 70s, I still had them. Pictures of horses were plastered all over my bedroom. I woke and went to sleep each day surrounded by the visualization of what I wanted most in life.
And you know what? It didn't happen and that's okay.
Somehow, the need to fulfill our children's every whim seems to be part of a new method of child rearing these days, and it concerns me. When did the tide turn?
I imagine it hurt my parents not to be able to give me my heart's desire. But, for whatever reason, it was not feasible for them.
Does it still tug a little at my heart when I think of the oft-repeated Christmas morning disappointment? Sure, but that's okay, too. When were we ever promised everything we wanted? I fear for the children who are being raised by these kind of "yes" parents. What's going to happen to them when they grow up and face the real world? What will they do when a boss or a spouse says "no"?
As you know, disappointment is a part of life and I firmly believe it's something children should learn as they mature. From the "No, you cannot have a toy from the bubble gum machine," to the "No, you can't go to the party at Alexis' house when her parents aren't home," kids need to graduate from tiny disappointments to larger ones so they are able to adapt when the really big ones come. It teaches them to roll with the punches.
Of course, that's only my opinion and I've kind of side-tracked from the point of this post. I was thinking about it and just wanted to share my biggest Christmas morning disappointment.
What was yours? I'd love to hear your stories.