We've entered a new era here in the Graham world. It's not new to the rest of the world. Young people have been going through it for ages. I went through it. You probably went through it. We all know about it. I would argue that it's getting worse by the day, but it is definitely not new.
We are deep into what we 'have to have' and what we 'just love so much' and 'what everybody gets' and so on and so on and so on. I'm trying to be somewhat logical about it all. I really am. I'm trying to mother my children, want what's really best for them and leave them with some small sense that I am not actually the least withit human on the planet. It's hard.
I'm trying to remember that feeling I had in the fourth grade one Saturday afternoon when I looked down at my feet and realized that I was looking at the coolest scene in the history of the world - I FINALLY had blue striped Adidas and the coolest footies with bright blue pom poms. Just thinking about how amazing I was swells my head even to this day, but I digress . . .
Truth is, it is sickening to watch when our children stop thinking as individuals and begin 'liking' and 'loving' and 'wanting' and 'needing' in swarms of a hundred. It's disheartening. It's scary. It leaves a Mama feeling like she didn't do a good enough job on the You Are Special push.
We've never been much on Christmas lists. The kids might write a letter at school to practice handwriting, but we've never gone by a strict list of exactly what to provide for Christmas morning happiness. I grew up that way, and I've loved continuing it. Shopping for the kids has been creative and fun. We've wondered and considered and loved the times when a complete surprise was a hit.
That's over now. On one level, I understand. I get it that my girls are older, that they have a more discerning palette about what they wear and they are making more decisions on their own. But that's just it it - these exact lists about precisely what they want have left their own brains completely out of it! I'm almost certain that I could have exchanged their requests with any of their friends and found the same things.
Creativity? Fun? Thinking for yourself? Surprises? Bah, humbug! They all want the same thing.
I know, I know, I need to chill out about it. But it's not the wanting it that bothers me; it's their feeling that they MUST have it that leaves me feeling raw. I'm delighted when they get a present they love. I want them to feel as cool as I knew I was when I looked down and had those gorgeous Adidas staring back up at me. I just wish they knew that the Nike shorts and the Vera Bradley duffel bags and the perfect phone case and on and on and on have absolutely nothing at all to do with what makes them completely amazing. I just wish they knew.
I wish I could tell every young girl:
- The Vera Bradley bag is cute and colorful, but the unforgettable thing is the look on your face when you board the bus for the church ski trip or come home excited after a fun spend the night party.
- The iphone case looks great, but it doesn't compare to the sweet glimmer you get in your eye when you know you are being funny.
- The Nike shorts are fine but what's awesome is how hard you worked to tackle something difficult and made it!
- The perfect backpack has nothing to do with how gorgeous you are walking down the hall at school after you've just said something to make your friend's day.
- The bright orange tennis shoes are awesome, but they are paled by the look on your face when you know, deep inside, that you have just given everything you have to help your team.
- The real reason that people are staring is not because you just spent two hours straightening your amazingly beautiful curly hair; it's because you just sang like an angel.
- The real people in the world aren't looking at your Uggs, for they are concentrating on your gorgeous smile.
- What you use to pull back your hair doesn't matter in the least; we see the sheer beauty in your face when you are concentrating on building your brain or solving a problem.
- When we look at a group of you, we don't concentrate on what you're wearing; we see each of your faces and pray for the day when each of you will KNOW that we love the ways that you all are different.
- You're bigger and brighter and better than the best name brand item you own . . . you are precious and smart and talented and beautiful, and we can't wait for you to love what you bring into this starving world as much as we do!