You could look at our kids and say they’re spoiled. You could look at our kids and say they’re sorely deprived. Well, both the spoiling and the deprivation are mainly by design, and our mantra is that, as a family, we are very lucky because we all have everything we need and most of what we want.
For the most part, the kids get this.
Sometimes they don’t.
So the other night, there was a lengthy discussion in the car about the kids’ lists to Santa (yes, they write them, because they work a hell of a lot better than asking Mommy or Daddy). Jack wants an iTouch. Caroline was convincing him he doesn’t. Caroline wants a digital camera. He was convincing her she already has an iTouch and can take pictures with that. I heard “I want I want I want” over and over and over.
I was listening. And listening. And listening.
And lost it.
“Do you know that there are kids who will ask Santa for a new pair of shoes? Or a roof over their heads? Or warm blankets or a meal? That’s right, a meal. Do you know there are kids who can’t even go to the doctor when they’re sick?”
It would’ve probably been okay if I stopped there. But I’m not known for stopping when I’m supposed to stop. “Kids who want two parents! Or a mother! Or their health! OR THEIR DOG TO LIVE A LITTLE LONGER!” (Okay, fine, that last one was on my letter to Santa.)
Fast forward a few hours, after both kids had been put to bed. I was doing the dishes. Caroline came in the kitchen, sobbing.
I wrapped her in my arms and asked, tenderly, what was wrong.
“Those poor, poor children!” she cried. “The ones from Hurricane Sandy and the ones who ate the Thanksgiving basket we donated and the ones who are poor and the ones who don’t have their parents and the ones with dead moootttthhheeerrrrrsssss….” sob sob sob “I’m just telling Santa to give them all my presents. Every one. I don’t want one thing. And tell Gramps and Ama and Aunt Jenn and Uncle Mike and Auntie Lish and Uncle Mat and Aunt Noelle and Uncle John and Aunt Nadine and tell them all to send my presents to the poor children! Just tell them! I don’t need any of it! Those children need it!” sob sob sob…
I melted. What a kind, selfless child we had raised! My heart swelled with love and pride. And a little bit of guilt, for laying it on SO thick that the child was ready to forgo all her Christmas presents. But mainly relief, that she thought of others more than herself.
Then she wrote her letter to Santa:
Ready for your big night? Great! First of all, please give all the poor children and all the Hurricane Sandy children what they want for Christmas. Really, please make it merry.
Then I want an iPad.
Well, I guess at least she didn't give herself top billing.