Boy #1 is a pretty easy kid. He’s always in a good mood, up for anything, does what he’s told (most of the time), loves people, and is a joy to be around. A couple Christmases ago he asked Santa for a Nintendo DS and was really hoping the fat man would deliver.
Like most families, my kids have way too much stuff. The big concern is that they’re going to get to the point where they’re never satisfied with anything because all the crap that ends up in our house. They may not have as much as a few of their friends, but they want for nothing. My big plan was to not give them everything they wanted for Christmas. It’s a good life lesson: you don’t get everything you want and you learn to really appreciate what you have.
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
So Christmas morning comes and the kids come in every 1/2 hour starting at 3:30 AM. Finally, around 6 AM I give them the green light and away they went.
They went flying down the stairs like the house was on fire. There were a couple of “all rights!!” And then a gasp. Followed by Boy #1 saying, “What? No DS?” It was the same voice Molly Ringwald used when confronting Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink after she realized he was stiffing her for the prom. Confusion and terror mixed with a whisper of desperation.
He was silent for about 7 seconds which was followed by quiet sobbing. It wasn’t crying, it was much worse — he wasn’t sad, he was hurt. Then came the “punch in the face.” Between sobs he tried to make sense of the injustice by saying:
“I thought I was good this year.”
I’ve been horrified before. I was horrified when I got pants-ed by my next door neighbor (a girl) in the 5th grade. I was horrified when David Lee Roth left Van Halen. And I was horrified when legendary Hall of Fame college basketball coach Marv Harshman screamed what an idiot I was in front of the entire basketball camp in 1986 after I messed up a fast break. But this was the topper. I had no feeling in my feet.
At that point I would have dropped 20 grand on a gold-plated DS and every game imaginable. Hell, I would have bought him a grill with a diamond-studded “DS.” Is there anything worse than finding out that your grand plan as a parent has completely backfired? And how bad did it backfire?
He got a DS with games for his birthday a few months later. We need to keep in mind as we stumble through life that having kids is a learning process for parents too.