There are certain things I neglected to do while my kids were growing up that I now wish I had done. I don’t necessarily regret not having done them because by and large I think regret is a really useless activity. It is not the same as learning from your mistakes – it is the act of taking your mistakes, twisting them into a knoted rope and using them to flagellate yourself until you bleed and feel sick to your stomach. It doesn’t change a thing – it just makes you feel like crap.
Getting back to the point – I was thinking about how when my kids were little I never made a big deal of having them pick out birthday or Christmas presents for each other. I never engaged in the time honored practice of handing one off to somebody else while I took the other 2 shopping to buy something for the soon to be celebrated sibling. Now that I think of it, that might be because I was a single Mom but none the less – I don’t think I did it. In fact, I’m not sure it even occured to me to do that.
My son’s birthday is coming up in a week and I was feeling like I needed to make sure his sisters were aware of that and were planning to do something to honor him like get him a present. I really didn’t know for sure if my kids think about each other’s birthday and get a little excited about coming up with a great gift and I want that – I want that oh so badly because I don’t recall ever feeling that way about my siblings. The thing is, I come from a family that didn’t even bother putting the ‘fun’ back in dysfunctional. The ‘dys’ maybe, and maybe with a capital “D”, but not the fun – never the fun. We barely remember to call each other or send an email for our birthdays . We have spent exactly 1 Christmas all togther in the last 28 years. I think it is just so pathetic and I don’t want my kids to grow up and just forget about each other that way.
I am always wishing I were the mother of the Huggy Bear family. I like to imagine my kids thinking about each other’s birthdays and grinning like half wits, filled to bursting with blind adoration for each other. And just when I was feeling really glum about my own upbringing and thinking I had passed that particularly self centered and unfriendly tradition on, both of my girls asked me what I thought their brother might like for his birthday. My older daughter is planning her visit home to coincide with the big date.
Oh happy day! Sometimes this parenting thing works itself out in spite of it all. They may not be the Huggy Bear siblings but they do love each other and for that I am thankful. I’m not sure what I did but I’m willing to guess I did something right.