Friday, August 15, 2008

Thank goodness he's so ungrateful

Graham does not appreciate a damn thing I do for him.

He doesn't appreciate that most days I spend my lunch hours running errands so I can devote my time after work to playing hide and seek or kicking the soccer ball around or going to the park even though I'm usually so tired I just want to collapse on the couch.

He doesn't appreciate the effort I put into providing healthy and tasty food, fun and educational toys and books, and stylish and comfortable clothing. He doesn't appreciate that he lives in a lovely house with a huge yard and a pool and, more importantly, that he has two devoted parents who love each other, four healthy grandparents who dote on him and a huge, loving extended family

He doesn't appreciate that his father has introduced him to movie stars and that his grandfather is a bush pilot and that his mother has already started an account to fund his future travel and educational pursuits.

He clearly feels that he is due the terms of endearment, the gentle admonishments, the tender snuggles and the loving kisses that rain on him daily like manna from above.

Graham has absolutely no clue how incredibly lucky he is.

And I'm glad.

I am glad that Graham assumes every child in the world is loved as well as he is. I'm glad that he knows nothing of illness and stress and work, of friendships that end and nerves that fray and people who change. I'm glad that he knows nothing of the million and one mundane details of daily life that conspire to wear adults down.

It is with a strange mixture of envy and frustration and joy that I watch my son skip through his days, oblivious to the suffering in the world and indeed, at times, in his own home. There are times when the child in me feels staggered by the unfairness inherent in his oblivion but then I remind myself that it wasn't always so: it wasn't until my adulthood that I understood the difficulties my parents endured throughout my childhood.

And that's the way it should be, ideally. Isn't that one of the reasons we have children? Bouts of uncertainty and worry and stress are inevitable for every adult: at least parents who suffer them have the satisfaction of watching someone they love and care for enjoy blissful ignorance.

I know that Graham will not pass through life without experiencing bouts of uncertainty and worry and stress: ultimately I would not want him to. They are parts of life just as surely as is the unqualified happiness he experiences now. And besides everyone knows that in order for someone to really appreciate the good in life, they have to suffer the bad.

But Graham has yet to suffer the bad and thus Graham is completely unappreciative of how good he has it now.

Graham does not appreciate a damn thing I do for him.

And for now I am both grateful for, and proud of, that.

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45 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love that you realize it must come to an end at some point.

I always wonder why it is that many parents realize that their most intense times of personal growth were related to bumps in the road yet they persist in trying to make sure the road is always smooth for their children.

painted maypole said...

as it should be for children, I agree

Reluctant Housewife said...

Um... Hi. That all sounds really great. Want to adopt me? I'd appreciate you. I promise.

Aunt Becky said...

I'm with the reluctant housewife here. Can I come live with you, please?

All Adither said...

I'd like some comfortable, stylish clothes.

April said...

Very nicely stated...of course!

New Age Bitch said...

Kids need balance: a firm foundation, but room to breathe. Both are appreciated whether or not they ever can articulate it.

Damselfly said...

I never thought if things that way ... good points.

Vodka Mom said...

Mine don't appreciate that I drive the old beat up Honda accord, so they can drive the SUV to school. They don't appreciate that I buy my clothes at the TJ Max clearance aisles so they can wear Abercrombie. They don't appreciate the fact that I take a lunch to school every day so they can have extra money for the movies, etc.

But, I know, someday they will....

Mr Lady said...

Word up, Kelly.

I work so hard, every day, to make sure my kids have no clue what my own childhood was like, and then get mad at them when they don't understand how good they have it.

Those are the moments when I step back and, just like you, thank whatever that they can be ungrateful.

It means I've done something right. :)

Just Janice said...

So true - my kids don't appreciate what they have either. But yanno, sometimes even I don't appreciate how good we have it. I am truly, truly blessed.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

I love that my daughter truly believes we can make ANYTHING happen for her.

Still, it would be nice if she could understand that there isn't always "more".

In time, only in good time.

Heather said...

Yeah, but some days that my kids don't get how good they have it...it really chaps my a$$.

Angella said...

I am happy that my kids are clueless as to how good they have it.

One day I may tell them my own story. Maybe. If I do, they will realize how great their life really is...

wheelsonthebus said...

You put it beautifully.

Melisa said...

Never thought about it this way. Nicely written!

Dawn said...

Yes...children need to have a time of innocence to the pressures of life. I loved this post and I agree wholeheartedly...childhood needs to be protected.

JCK said...

This might be one of my favorite posts of yours, Kelly. Lovely. Achingly so. Will be so fun to look back on.

beth said...

Beautifully written.

I will remind myself of this next time my one of my ungrateful girls gets to me.

Corey~living and loving said...

It's like you are in my head! GET OUT! LOL just kidding. Wonderful post, yet again! thank you for the smiles!

~Jobthingy~ said...

that is just the way it should be :)

Manager Mom said...

So true... what a lovely reminder of how lucky so many of us are.

Sass E-mum said...

It wasn't until I was a parent that I realised what unconditional love means. Everyone should be so loved and it makes me incredibly sad to think that some babies, and adults, have never been loved and protected in this way.

Threeundertwo said...

What a wonderful description of the naivete of childhood. It is such a gift to observe this sort of pure trust in the world.

kittenpie said...

I have to admit, I am of mixed opinion on this. I don't want Pumpkinpie to have stress, but I alwso don't want her to expect all those things to fall in her lap. I think it breeds a lack of gratitude in some kids. I want her to understand that we are fortunate, and that others who are less fortunate are so most often not by their own doing. Not to say I want to weight her with the worries of the world, not at all, but I try to find a bit of a balance in letting her see that not everyone has it so easy and giving her a really nice environment to grow up in.

Tracey said...

It would be lovely to think that every person had their basic needs met, wouldn't it?

jen said...

i know...i struggle w/ this, wanting to show my child the reality i see every day i go to work coupled with making sure she has all she needs and finding the balance in that, where i can expand her consciousness without making it some sort of over the top lesson, b/c 1 in 6 kids live in poverty, and she'll grow up alongside kids who aren't getting what ours have, and how to integrate the two.

i'm rambling, but it's something i think about a lot.

Pregnantly Plump said...

It is such a great outlook to have, isn't it?
Right now, everything is new and fascinating to Little Elvis. I'm learning to take time to appreciate the difference in leaves and trees.

Jen said...

Jen 2 posts up from me expressed a lot of what I feel about this. It's a strange dichotomy between wanting to protect them, and wanting them to experience the existence of diversity.

chelle said...

That u=was a tough one fore me. Appreciation. I grew up without a mom, something my kids hopefully will never experience and for a short period of time (until a good friend straightened me out) I was exasperated trying to MAKE my toddler appreciate me. I had it all wrong. I get that now. Great post!

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

I hear ya - I'm glad that my kids don't know stress or worry or anxiety, and that I can take it upon my shoulders for them. But I'm fairly certain our parents' parents had far more life-threatening worries than we do, and for THAT I'm grateful!

La La said...

I believe that because he has this kind of stability in his childhood that he will have the emotional capacity to navigate the not so good that will inevitably happen. Having one's basic needs met does give strength and stability, and those help us get through the hard stuff.

Magpie said...

You're a good mom, to see the now, and to see the later.

womaninawindow said...

This is nicely written. I'm a little more like Kittenpie however. I appreciate that my little ones are fortunate but we often discuss how unfortunate others are in the world and why. I think they're very fortunate to have a world perspective from school and then reinforced at home. For instance, they have days where they are offered only white rice for lunch to launch into a conversation about food and economics in the world. And yes, they are only 6 and 8. It's good, I think, to grow up with an understanding of the world and to start early creating empathy. (Not picking...You're a good mom...just explaining a different perspective.)

Mara said...

I remember the first time my son got a glimpse of what the real world is about and it broke my heart to explain to him how cruel the world really is. Enjoy these times he is so innocent. Nice post.

Mara
http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

Mara said...

I remember the first time my son got a glimpse of what the real world is about and it broke my heart to explain to him how cruel the world really is. Enjoy these times he is so innocent. Nice post.

Mara
http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

Immoral Matriarch said...

Great post K.

imbeingheldhostage said...

beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder.

Elaine A. said...

Well said, as usual.

p.s. I would TOTALLY appreciate being introduced to movie stars. ; )

Maggie, Dammit said...

This is a lovely twist on something I struggle greatly with myself. Thank you for unearthing it.

caramama said...

This is so true. If only all children could get to be so blissfully ignorant and so ungrateful.

Beck said...

I want my children to have happy childhoods, and yet I also want them to be concious of the children around them who aren't - so it's trying to balance the desire for their happiness while encouraging them to be compassionate people. But having said that, I DO think that children who are pressed into having too much awareness of the evils of the world too early often grow up to be frightened, hardened people - some shelter when you're young is a wonderful thing.

Jaina said...

I like your way of looking at things.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Th difficult part is the ungratefulness when you have to start teaching it and they still dont get it.

KEEP BELIEVING

KELLY said...

beautiful... love it!