Wednesday, November 23, 2011
So we all know that parenting is one long experiment in trying to fix the 'wrongs' in our own childhoods. We vow never to do certain things or say certain things. If we didn't have wealth we strive to have abundance for our children. If our parents were strict - we are less so. If they were not - we are. If we never got that one special toy we yearned for - our kids will have the ones they want. If we never had Jordache jeans - our daughters will have several pairs. (Not that I'm bitter.)
It's often subconscious. We don't even know we're doing it. Well I do know I'm doing it. I am actively doing it. The biggest example of which might be that I now live in a sunny place where playing outside does not involve 13 layers of clothing and a permanent runny nose. I'm also sentimental. I want my kids to have some connection to my childhood. I bake things with them that I baked. I tell them stories and sing them Scottish folk songs. I make them wear tartan.
To that end - the last time I was home I raided my Dad's attic. I was in search of some remnants from my long lost childhood.
I found them. My Fisher Price A-Frame Cabin and my Fisher Price Camper Van. Oh the memories. I played with those things daily for years. It's possible my RV obsession is rooted here. I was so excited to see my trusty old play pals after all those years. Not all the accessories and people had survived but there was enough. My kids and I were delighted.
We boxed them up and shipped them off to California. It cost a small fortune but what price childhood memories and happy children - it was worth it. Or it would have been if I could have stopped there. I couldn't. I became obsessed with making the sets whole again. Damn you Ebay. I found everything that was missing - yes! At a hugely inflated price - nooooo!
I stepped away. I would end up spending hundreds and I could actually buy complete sets for less that I had already spent.
If only my mind would switch off there. That's not me. It wound itself back to justification. These toys feel like a part of me. They have history, sentiment. I bid. I won. Is there an Ebay anonymous because I need it. I spent $17 on a plastic toilet. My set was complete! My memories restored. Now the girls and I could spend hours together lost in the imaginative play of my youth. Except we don't. They like my old toys - they don't love my old toys. They love their toys - the ones they chose. The sheen has worn off these old treasures already. They clearly did not get my sentimental gene.
Still, not all is lost - if you happened to be in my neighborhood and you happened to peek in my window, it's possible you might see a grown women, with a happy heart and big grin, playing camping.