Raising Kids

It is my oldest (eldest?) daughter’s birthday this week, and we celebrated as a family last night with a special meal, cake and a few presents.

My daughter is a lot like me.  I see it every time I watch her interact (read: command and delegate) with her sisters.  I see it when she can’t put down a book, and walks around in a fog dreaming about what she was just reading about. I see it when she enthusiastically talks about her pet chickens, training our dog and how she’s going to help me in the garden this summer.

But she still surprises me.

Last night after dinner was over, we belted out Happy Birthday, ate cake and then I brought out the presents.  Now, the reason I didn’t have the presents out and prominently displayed was a purely selfish one.  THE QUESTIONS.

Mama, are those presents? Mama, who are they for? Mama, who are they from? Mama, where are MY presents? Mama, WHY does she get presents and not me?  Mama, when is my Birthday? Mama, can I open one? I could go on, but I will spare you the insanity.

So, while everyone was finishing their cake (my piece was gone in 3 seconds, just being honest) I went ‘beyond the baby gate’ into the basement to retrieve the gifts.  There were 3 gift bags, two large and one small.

The first gift bag she opened contained a bunch of clothes.  The kid is growing so fast I can’t keep clothes in her size.  I have to keep going back to the store.  So I basically gifted her an entire spring wardrobe: a dress, three pairs of capris, two short sleeve shirts, a pair of pajamas and some undergarments.  She likes clothes, and was very happy with them, but this “gift” was really a necessity since almost everything she has NO LONGER FITS.

Next came the rock tumbler.  My science-y, build-it and create girl thought it was fantastic.  She can tumble rocks all summer long.

Then I handed her the small gift bag, which she hadn’t seen due to the size of the other large bags.  She took the gift, and just as she was starting to pull out the tissue paper, breathlessly stated, “Oh mama, this is too many presents.”

Do you remember record players?  I actually had one as a kid.  One of the things I remember is if you sloppily pulled the needle off the record instead of lifting it straight up it would make a scratching noise, something like “RRRRRRRRRT”.  For those who do not remember record players, send me an email with questions and I will be sure to get you up to speed.

So, when my daughter said we GAVE HER TOO MANY PRESENTS, the record scratching noise is what I heard in my head.  It was a full stop for me.

In our day and age, being a parent is hard.  I mean, it’s always been hard, but today there are so many choices, distractions, advice givers, entertainment options, games, videos, world news…and that’s just on my iPhone.

So what I mean to say is that I am happy.  I am happy my daughter thinks she got three too many presents.  I am happy that she felt special and blessed on her birthday.  And I am happy that she continually confirms to me that despite the times we live in and my inexperience as a parent she is turning out to be a great person.

I love you Sweet Pea.  Happy Birthday kid.




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