The Giving Tree.
I fucking hate The Giving Tree. Like I haaaaaate it, you guys. I truly think that Tree is partly responsible for the downfall of society. Controversial statement, I know. Stick with me..
So, The Boy is all I want this and I want that and I’m bored and I’m tired and I want mooooooooore. And The Tree is like sleep in my shade, eat my apples, take my leaves, my branches! Chop me down! My life doesn’t matter! And The Boy is like YES! Then The Boy/Rude Man Baby is like Oh! I am so weary! and The Tree is happy to offer up her GRAVE. Come and rest upon my rotten bones! I am so desperately happy that you threw me this scrap of attention, even though you forgot my birthday and you never call. I am so glad you are here!
And the Man Baby is…asleep.
And The Tree was happy.
No. No Rude Man Baby. No.
I believe in sacrificing for my kids. I left my sister and newborn nephew and moved all the way across the country because Maryland is a better place to raise children that Los Angeles.
I lived with my in-laws on PURPOSE for probably longer than we should have because it was best for my son.
While my children are adorably coordinated in Gap Kids and Gymboree, I buy my clothes at the same store I buy my groceries.
We go without so our kids can have more. We want them to have better lives, easier lives, isn’t that the goal? But do we have to sacrifice ourselves into nothingness? And is that what’s best for our children?
It’s not that I don’t understand where The Tree is coming from, I want to give my kids everything. I want to put them in a happy bubble where whatever they want or need is immediately given to them and they never know disappointment or worse, pain.
But when my kids lose their left shoes (why is it always the left shoe?) almost every morning before school, my heart wants to tell them “hold on sweethearts! Mommy will find it, everything will be okay”. But I don’t. Because, no. I say ” where did you leave it last? This is why we have these baskets at the front door. When you take your shoes off, just toss them in the basket and you’ll know right where they are!” I say this every day, possibly for the next few years, because I know if they remember that I casually mentioned that I might take them to ToysRUs this weekend eventually they will remember to put their shoes in the basket.
Here is where my inner Tree monologue gets a little conflicted. I know it’s hard to be young, there is so much to learn but OMG every morning with the shoes! The going to school process is the same every.damn.day.
So, I keep chipping away at it.
I also say abusive things like “You know where the cups are. You can get some water.” when faced with the millionth “I’m thirsty!” or “you have young, strong legs. Go upstairs and get your kindle your damn self!” I don’t say “damn self” of course, because I am not a total monster. And of course this has to be age appropriate. I don’t expect my 2 year old to do the same things as my almost 9 year old. I don’t say these things because I am lazy or mean, though sometimes it feels this way. I do thins because I want them to be able to identify a want or a need they have and take care of it themselves if they can. I also want them to know how to ask for help if they need it and that needing help isn’t a failure. So I don’t want you to think I don’t help them or support them. I do.
Truthfully I just want to cover them with love and kissed all the time.
Sometimes I do. I can be a Smother Mother to the extent I put Beverly Goldberg to shame. Which might be why my oldest loves that show so much, he identifies. I have stormed school offices, demanded things from doctors and insisted everyone cave to my plan for my child because dammit I am RIGHT, and no one better mess with my babies.
Perhaps what I hate about The Tree is that if I could do that all the time, I would. But it wouldn’t be right. Because Rude Man Baby.
If we do our job correctly, we parent ourselves out of a job. If we encourage, require and show by example, perhaps our kids will not only be able to get themselves a drink when they’re thirst but ask others if they would like one as well.
If we do our jobs correctly perhaps they’ll be able to find both their shoes and get to school on time, and then college on time, and then a job on time, and then church on time, and then God willing, the hospital on time. Perhaps then, when they place that sweet grand baby in my arms I will embrace my inner Giving Tree wholly and completely without exceptions and my sons and daughter and their partners will roll their eyes at one another as I sneak the kids ice cream with sprinkles for breakfast and they will whisper to one another:
I fucking hate The Giving Tree.