Saturday, April 26, 2014
This is what I know about parenting...it is difficult. There are moments of great success and then those damn kids turn on you and there are such lows you think you will never climb back out of them. I also know that with four kids, enjoying the moments of their success is fleeting because you are really just jumping from one kid's low to the next. All while they yell, say, demand, ask, whisper, sign, smoke signal the words...mom, mommy, mother, mama. They never yell for dad, even when he is standing right there.
Nicole is leaving for college in August. When I started this blog she was starting high school. I am busy this weekend getting off announcements, cleaning my crack-like house for a party, and shuffling children to sporting events. Same old, same old. I am not going to lie. Nicole has been an easy kid to get to college. Maybe she is setting me up for a ridiculous fall into disaster when she gets there, but she has been easy. She did the hard work, she got in to the college she wanted, she had back up choices in case it didn't happen, and blah...blah...blah...she has been easy. That being said, she can also be very entitled.
I am not sure how this happened. I think some of it comes naturally to children living in suburbia in the year 2014. I think some of it is innately part of her personality, and I think some of it is our fault as parents, because in many ways she has lived a life of, in my humble opinion, great privilege. She has a car. It is our old Navigator. To be fair she loves it. She was happy to get it, embraces the odd awkwardness of it's size, smiles at it's squeaks and creaks, and never once has asked or insinuated a new car would be nice. Our driveway is often seen with a BMW, or convertible this or that when her friends come over, and Nicole always happily jumps in her old SUV and drives off. She also has a job. A good job. She does parties and camps at the local gymnastics place. Great hours, good pay, nice boss and she has a great work ethic. Super proud of all this. She has been diligently saving for months so that she can help pay for sorority costs at college next year.
Two weeks ago she had a fender/bender in the school parking lot. Her fault. And here is where the entitled aspect of her personality comes roaring in. It bothered her so little, or she found it so unimportant, that she did not tell us for two days. When it did come up, she was very dismissive of the whole thing. Rather nonchalant. As though it was no big deal. "Not really any damage," says she "But,oh by the way I gave him my insurance information and now he is calling me. Can dad talk to his dad?"
As it turns out it was a big deal and there WAS some damage. To the tune of about $800.00. She was still very dismissive. And here is a synopsis of what followed and was revisited several times over several days
-Oh, great, insurance can pay for that.
-Ummmm...No, you will pay for that.
-What? I can't pay for that.
-Ummm, yes you can. You have the money in your account.
-Yes, but I have been working really hard for that.
-Thank goodness you have, now you have the money to take care of it instead of having a payment plan with this guy
-When my friends wrecked cars they got new ones and insurance paid for that
-Hmmm? Well, in this house you are writing a check and paying for the damage
-This is very unfair. Why can't you pay for it?
-We did not hit his back bumper
-Why can't insurance pay for it and so on and so on and so on... Exhausting
In the end he paid the man. She was a humble Tigger, a quiet Tigger. And a Tigger that pulls out of our driveway and cul de sac at a much, more cautious pace. I am sure the lesson is learned, for the moment. As I write this I am reminded of my high school car accident. Where in reality, I did not pay for the damages, my father did. I am reminded that there is an extreme amount of hypocrisy in my parenting (some of which I have touched upon in an earlier blog). I am reminded that what I first said is true.
Parenting is difficult. Raising good children is difficult, having them take responsibility is difficult, and here's the thing...sometimes parents aren't honest about how difficult that is. This blog is all about my honesty. I am big on calling a spade a spade. An idiom I guess. I am not even sure of it's origin.
Posted by kim at 8:44 AM