Humble Pie: Swoon 21
There is a great family here in town, three kids, involved parents, all things good. The two older kids are amazing and oh so easy… the little one is squirrelly… a button pusher. His mom calls him her “humble pie”, he reminds her that parenting is a mix of personalities, and no parent does it all right. One day he was egging on his older sibling, his mom said, “please stop, if you don’t there will be consequences”, looking her right in the eye, he replied, “I EAT consequences for breakfast”. Humble Pie.
I ate some humble pie this weekend. It seems my kids are following in the footsteps of me and my siblings when it comes to pointing out the things their parents did poorly.
Backstory… One evening in the early 90s my siblings, our significant others, and I, sat around the Fire Island dinner table joking about all of the injustices we endured as children. My mom sat quietly listening, she was devastated, and rightly so, we were being brats. I have been expecting the laundry list of injustices from my children since that night. I just got one.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to throw parties… especially parties for kids. There were dinosaur digs, magicians, live animals, poker nights, teeny tiny and wacky parties. There were make your own marshmallow gun, dance, and art through the decades parties. Goodie bags, treasure hunts, thirty kids, it was insanely fun. We weren’t those decent and aware parents that said “no gifts”… bring on the gifts. What is more fun than unwrapping thirty gifts the day after your party? The actual birthday, that was calmer, waking up to a muffin with a candle, cards, and a few token gifts… then a pick of what every you want for dinner… and cake of course. Birthdays… swoon.
Yesterday while discussing weekend plans I asked my son if he was excited for his birthday. “I am not so into birthdays, too much attention, I always feel bad I can’t talk to everyone, I would rather it be just another day.” Which lead to discussion of childhood birthday parties “When was a kid I didn’t love my birthday.” Ummmmm what? Why? “Because of that time when we were in NYC and Olivia and I were fighting and we came home and you threw my cake in the toilet” Ummmmm are you insane, we lived in NYC when you were 2, why would I throw cake in the toilet and why were you fighting with a newborn? “No, not then, when I was like 8 and we went to a video game place in the city and we were fighting, so we left, and when we got home you put my cake on the toilet while I was taking a bath and said I was being a brat.” Ohhhhhh yup, I probably did that. So that is why you hated birthdays? “Yes, and because I never was allowed to win at the games at my parties, I could win but never could have the prizes, no other parents had that rule.” Ummm I stand by that, you were getting like 30 gifts you did not need a prize too.
So that was it… all these years of birthday parties and that is what he remembers. (I am being very dramatic and silly, we laughed about this and he did agree his parties were wonderful… but these were two sticking points). I have often said how sorry I am for my children, they had pretty normal childhoods. Unlike others, they will not be writing Running with Scissors or Educated, thankfully they do not have enough material.
As parents we do the best we can, we screw up, we are confronted with our mistakes, and we get very good at eating humble pie.