Most of us know we are lucky. We know it yet we complain about the little things. My littlest one threw a fit in a small grocery store yesterday. She wanted Goldfish crackers even though I told her again and again we already had Goldfish crackers at home. She's two, so I expect that she won't listen to reason. She just wants the friggin' crackers NOW and has no reason to realize how privileged she is to live in a family that has already purchased, perhaps even stockpiled the very cracker she so vehemently desires on a Monday morning just after Daylight Saving Time began.
My older kids want, want, want as well. I know some of it is my doing. I give, give, give, probably more than I should or is good for them. I do set limits. I do tell them no and stick with it. You won't catch me on Outrageous Kid's Parties or whatever that new show is called. I like to throw my kids a fun party but no party will ever cost $20 to $30 thousand in our house. Our wedding didn't even cost that much. I notice my kids want and ask for more things since we subscribed to cable TV, so any thoughts I might have had about the lack of influence of commercials have long since been refuted.
I worry that my kids are overindulged. I know they're not to the point of the kids that appear on the party show or even on Supernanny but sometimes I wonder how much I am hurting them by buying even the occasional binder folder with Mickey Mouse on the cover on clearance (98 cents! Woot!). Nevertheless, my kids definitely have the "gimmies."
Then something like the earthquake and tsunami occurs in Japan. It's literally on the other side of the globe and my kids are still fairly young. I wonder about sheltering them from the images of such devastation. They already are terrified of tornadoes and have various nightmares about natural acts. But I don't shelter them. I show them. I make them look and look hard. They are lucky. WE are lucky. SO FAR.
I tell them that there are kids there, kids who maybe had everything they ever wanted and now have nothing. I feel a little sick and my words catch in my throat because it's probably true even though I don't know for sure. My kids? I don't know what they think for sure. We get out a globe and I show them where Japan is, where Hawaii is (we did this as the tsunami was heading toward the US), where the West Coast of the US is and where Minnesota is in relation to it all. It puts distance between us and the disaster which seems both good and bad at the time.
It's too easy to turn away, to say it's on the other side of the globe. It's that lucky factor again. It didn't happen to us, or to anyone we know. It seems a little unreal, even with the videos, the photos, the constant news coverage.
I think of my friend, who's husband was in Japan on a plane ready to come home when the earthquake hit. His was one of 5 planes allowed to leave that day. He came home. LUCK.
Look at this! These people have NOTHING. Maybe not even their LIVES! I compel my kids to care, and they do, a little. But they are 8 and 6 and 2 and are LUCKY.
I look at myself and see this body that I have abused and think of those who no longer have that choice. My issues are silly, yet I know that I have to allow myself to feel whatever I feel. Feelings are always valid.
We can all have a bad day even when we are lucky. It is still allowed to feel angry, disappointed, UNLUCKY, even when we know, deep down (or maybe not so deep) that we are LUCKY.