The Birthday Gift

My middle child, youngest son, turned 12 today.  I did not get him what he wanted for his birthday.  There were various reasons, initially my over analytical, defensive personality wanted to go into them here, but I will leave that out as it is not pertinent to the story.  I had what he asked for in my hand, couldn’t do it and felt really, really bad about it.  I bought him something he will like and we will do a lot for him this weekend, but I still felt sad for him.  I always feel sad for my kids when they don’t get what they want, even stranger, when something of theirs breaks – it makes ME sad.  Even some shitty non-important McDonalds type toy, must be some latent childhood thing and I really don’t understand the emotions.  But I digress….

I spoke with my son this morning about the fact that he was not getting what he asked for and the reasons.  I struggled over whether to do this (before he got his other presents), but I always hated the waiting and the eventual disappointment – so we had the discussion.  He cried for a minute and then seemed to be ok.  In addition it was a busy morning, my wife was out of town visiting a sick Aunt, our schedule was disrupted, we had additional tasks, and we didn’t have a lot of time to recognize the birthday.  I made them oatmeal for breakfast, which is not his favorite.  On the drive to school I apologized to him for the less than stellar birthday morning.  My 14 year old piped up and said, in a joking manner, “Yeah, it sucked, it really sucked”.  They both had a good laugh and I realized that this was such a brilliant thing to say.  I think it made us realize that it didn’t suck – it was just life.

As someone in recovery, who is just now learning to be ok with not getting what I want, I wonder why I fight so hard to NOT give him this lesson.  I certainly don’t want him to be like me when he doesn’t get what he wants.  Perhaps he was given a greater gift today, to learn how to deal with the disappointments of life – I don’t know.


About A Beast Within

Trying to find myself, battling alcoholism, and other personal demons. Sharing the journey. View all posts by A Beast Within

2 responses to “The Birthday Gift

  • karenlessscripted

    I think you’re probably right, especially if you had specific reasons for not getting him what he wanted. It’s like the Rolling Stones song…you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. Kids need parents who care enough to say no. But oatmeal for breakfast? That just sucks.

  • Grateful Member

    Wow, so much of this post resonated with me. I, also, have a very hard time disappointing my kiddos. How very codependent of me! I can also relate to being upset when they break, lose, or trade away a toy.

    Interestingly, a few years after a major life upheaval for my boys, I am realizing that they have all had so much spiritual growth as a result of the last few years, which I would NEVER have chosen for them.

    I may just have to reblog you and explore this further 😉 Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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