A Confession from a Dark Place…a very Black place
I hang my head as i write this. I have to confess something, and it’s not easy to say. I preach and preach about living a certain way…Living simply. Living without. Being frugal. Loving what you have.
But I had a moment of weakness. And I want to be honest with you.
I dug in, shuffled through, looked at, plotted, and conspired with the Black Friday ads.
I hang my head; ashamed.
Black Friday is against everything i stand for. Don’t even get me started on how it has seeped into Thanksgiving Day. We have to ruin the ONE day that everyone actually stops and is Thankful for things in their life that they currently have and ruin it with the lustfullness of Plastic Crap made in China (i’m not dogging China, i promise, in fact i just ordered some awesome herbal things from them just the other day). Seriously you greedy, sneaky, sly companies prying on the Americans and their need for more STUFF. Right…don’t even get me started.
So there i was. Staring away at these ads with all these beautiful things. Shining new gadgets, stylish new boots, innovative new toys! Click after click i shuffled through ad after ad scouring, seeing what i possibly couldn’t live without. I mean…it’s Black Friday. It’s killer deals. That’s a budget friendly woman’s dream, is it not?
Of course my kids would love Dave, the nine inch Talking Minion. The Lego sets are all 50% off…which is perfect because they are still outrageously expensive…but 50% off, come on! How cool would they be sporting a Jeep Power Wheel around the Park, complete with a working radio. When else will i be able to score one for $100 off? Never i tell you. I was even almost convinced i needed to buy a 75% off pre-lit christmas tree to quick put up and decorate so we can have a Tree up for the mere 2 weeks we have left before we head off to Guatemala.
I even got as far as hitting up Amazon.com and having a Kindle (don’t worry, it was just the original black and white, not the Fire) in my shopping cart ready for checkout. It wasn’t even for the boys, it was for me! I deserve a gift or two.
Then it hit me. What was i doing? This stuff…these great deals…these pretty packaged Joys. What do they mean? Will my kids open up their pretty wrapped packages beaming with joy, love and appreciating each and every gift? Would they come running over to us as we sit there on Christmas day by the fire sipping hot Co-Co and say “Oh mommy and daddy we love you so”. And we’d spend the day with a fuzzy glow around us, laughing, smiling, loving and appreciating it all.
The kids would beam with joy, they’d probably let out a scream or thank you when they see the Big Wheel with a shiny red bow on top. But then there would be fighting over who gets the first turn. Grabbing gifts out of impatience. Not wanting to wait for the box to be opened and batteries to be placed. Looks of disappointment when it wasn’t quite what they asked for. It was the wrong color, the wrong brand or it wasn’t exactly like the one Brian has at school.
I immediately turned off the computer and walked away.
It’s so easy to be sucked in. You almost start to feel like a bad parent if you’re not waiting in line on Black Friday at Toys R-US equipped with an evil eye, pointy elbows and a Turkey and Pumpkin Pie coma.
While I’m airing all my dirty Black Friday laundry out i should tell you…i did participate in Black Friday one year. Junior was two years old and i was pregnant with Kman. Ranger wasn’t a Ranger back then and was making good money and i wanted my boys to have the best of the best. I woke up at 3am to go start hitting up my preplanned route. Needless to say we ended up with a bunch of crap that now sits collecting dust in someone elses home. To be quite honest the items looked better in the ads then they did in person. I should’ve gotten my sleep while i still had the chance before Kman arrived. God knows we got very little after his appearance.
If you are afraid of your kids being disappointed or upset with you because they didn’t get the neon green Tonka flip and Bounce Racer, don’t be. They probably wanted the blue instead.
If you want your children to feel loved, then love them. Spend actual quality time with them building the Lego sets they already own. Guarantee they will remember that far longer then they will if you buy them yet another set to construct by themselves.
Let’s stop driving home the fact that STUFF equates to LOVE.
“If you love me you’ll buy me…” attitude will do harm. I bet my finger tips on it. And as a writer…i really love my finger tips, it makes typing a lot easier.
Children feel special with very little. They need very little. We all do. First graders don’t need iphones or a flat screen Tv in their rooms. Did you hate your parents? Because I know you didn’t have either if those when you were in first grade.
Take a moment to reflect. What do you want your kids left remembering? A Christmas tree brimming full of pretty wrapped gifts every Christmas? I bet you they won’t remember what those gifts even were. They just know the Tree was always buried amongst colorful boxes.
Or can we leave our kids with more? More appreciation for what one has. More love to give. More time and energy spent on who is around them then what they wished for.
Trust me, it’s not easy. There still is a little part of me that is crushed when the Juniors ask if Santa will find them in Guatemala. I love this season. The lights, the food, the songs, the cheer you want to be there but usually is almost always stress. I love stringing lights on the trees. I love wrapping gifts, even though they are usually upside down, lopsided, pieced together, or tied with little strings on each side that makes them look like a giant piece of candy. Please tell me i’m not the only one that wraps like that.
So yes, i will miss the typical, gift-filled Christmas. But i’m looking forward to enjoying things on a different level this year. I’m not sure what it will be like, but i’m sure we will make it be a-okay. And i’m looking forward to spending my Birthday in some far-away land! And the disgruntled teenager in me has always been upset that I watched my beautiful sister enjoy her hot July pool parties year after year. I’m going to make sure I wear my bathing suit all day long on my birthday. Take that past blizzard birthdays!
Now quick…hurry… go buy more stuff, I hear that the stores are running out of things for us to buy.