Recently my sister cleaned out her house and bequeathed her unused Care Bear stickers and a pristine Precious Moments coloring book to my daughter. These little trinkets had been treasured by my sister for the past 25 years and I guess she finally realized that a 3-year-old would have better use of these objects.
Tonight, as I was watching my daughter play, I was struck by how different our lives had become. She had a pile of markers out and was boldly coloring in the Precious Moments coloring book, filling each page with bright splashes of greens and reds and yellows. While she’s quite meticulous for a preschooler, there was definitely some random scribbling and careless tearing of the pages. A few minutes later, she was pretending to be “teacher” passing out stickers. As she decorated my arm with stickers, I said to her, “I have enough stickers, why don’t you save some stickers for a special day?” She smiled grandly and said, “It’s okay, I have so many stickers! I can use them all!”
My heart cringed as she used up the entire sheet of sticker decorating my hand, her hands, and the tabletop, all within a blink of the eye. As a daughter of immigrant parents, I remember painstakingly saving up my allowance and poring over the Scholastic Book Club catalogues, trying to get the most for my $2.99, or longingly eyeing the shiny sheets of stickers in the arts and crafts section of Meijer’s. It’s hard to believe that I am now the mother of a daughter who lives so…extravagantly.
When I think back to the way that I grew up , I am happy to know that I am now at a stage of life in which I can provide for our children without having to worry about the cost of a coloring book or a sheet of stickers. I also feel happy that my children have the confidence of being able to live in the moment (instead of hoarding stickers/coloring books for almost three decades the way that my sisters and I did). However, I wonder if I’m actually overcompensating in luxuries for my children and will end up raising spoiled brats? How to I ensure that my children grow up to be the type of people who are grateful and appreciate the little things in life?