Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gratitude

Dear Mom and Dad,

I remember my first bike. It was red instead of metallic blue and it had a triangular black seat instead of a sparkly banana seat. I was not grateful.

I remember the year I had to have clogs because absolutely everbybody was wearing them. Instead of the real leather kind with the wooden soles and the braid up the front, you bought me a pair of beige imitation leather ones with faux woodgrain soles. I was not grateful.

I remember the year that I asked for a vest for my birthday. I wanted one that was real down with rainbow stripes. The one I got was fiber fill and it was baby blue. I was not grateful.

I remember those fashion boots I pined for. They were leather, of course, and laced up to the knee. They were to die for. I could almost smell them and hear the creak as I walked. The ones I got were real leather, but they zipped, and there was a flaw. I was not grateful.

I remember thinking that I would die if I didn't get a pair of R.D. Simpson's and a poet blouse. I got some toughskins with a heart embroidered on the pocket, and a knit batwing top with rainbow colored heart balloons all over it. It was cute, but it was wrong. I was not grateful.

I remember how we clamored for Intellivision or Colecovision. What we got was a Sears game console with generic versions of all the really popular games. We were not grateful.

I remember the class ring that I so carefully selected. It was real gold and was set with my birthstone and inscribed with my initials. The one I got was imitation gold with no birthstone. It turned black after a couple of years. I was not grateful.

I remember all the oversized blouses that you sewed for sister and me when we were in high school. They were beautiful, and far better than anything I could buy in a store. Our friends were all envious. But they lacked a designer label. So I was not grateful.

I was not grateful for goulash, or powdered milk, or generic peanut butter. I was not grateful for a warm winter coat and boots from Shopko. I was not grateful for our home, with the shabby carpet and cracked plaster. I was not grateful for your jobs, which were not glamorous or sophisticated.

What a shit I was.

I am raising my own children now. I understand what it is to choose between needs and wants; sometimes to choose between between needs and needs. I know what it is to wish with all your heart that you could buy your child that special thing. I know what it is to realize you can't. I know what it is to convince yourself it doesn't matter, that they will be better for not having everything their heart desires. And I think back to all those things I wanted....

I realize now, how you must have struggled. I realize now, that you tried so very, very hard to give me (us) the things we thought would make our lives happier.

I realize now, that I had the thing that maybe some of my friends would have traded their designer clothes and their fancy toys for.

I had love. I had a stable home life. I had two strong, positive role models who taught me about honesty, integrity, and the value of a job well done. I had parents who loved and respected one another. I had the bone deep certainty that you would always be there if I needed you.

And I am so so very, very grateful.

I'm sorry it took me thirty years.

23 Comments:

  • At 6:24 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    This is lovely, BA. And what your parents gave you never goes out of fashion.

     
  • At 7:21 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    Perfect!

     
  • At 8:53 AM, Blogger Mad Hatter said…

    It's the love, isn't it? I had the love (maybe not the other things like stability and two parents and such). But my mother loved me. She died before I realized the degree to which I will always be in her debt for every single sacrifice of love.

    The hand-me-downs and powdered milk were just fine in the end.

     
  • At 10:55 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    Beautiful, BA. I wish I had the opportunity to tell my mom that I'm grateful in person, but I whisper it to her every day.

    Quite a learning curve, isn't it?

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    This is so true it makes my heart hurt.

     
  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    This is lovely of you, some people never ever get it. You totally do.

     
  • At 11:44 AM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    Such a beautiful, honest letter. As is your character.

     
  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger Rebecca (AKA - Rebel In Ontario) said…

    Wonderfully put, don't you wish the teens of today could see into the future at how hard parents really do work, and love them unconditionally....I wish my children could see now how I buy them warm clothes and new shoes when they need them while I "make do" with the ones I have when I really should be investing in some for myself, but they are my children and they need them more than I do.
    Beautiful post.

     
  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    beautiful. please say you are sharing this with your parents, and not just us! (we drank powdered milk, too)

     
  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger Hairline Fracture said…

    So beautiful. Amazing how a few years and children of your own gives you a new appreciation for your parents.

     
  • At 3:12 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    It's so true...I sometimes try to explain to my son (and to a lesser extent, my daughter as she's much younger) that he should be grateful, that he is very fortunate in so many ways.

    At other times, I long to be so innocent; to not have concerns or worries and to have any reason to think life is anything but fabulous - and consistently so.

     
  • At 3:31 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    What a sweet post. I too wasn't grateful for many things at the time that I now understand. I am sure that when I have kids I will understand even more.

     
  • At 4:41 PM, Blogger Mimi aka pz5wjj said…

    So sweet! I've been thinking a lot about "needs and wants" too lately!

    So true, so true!

     
  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Mary Alice said…

    I can only pray that I get a letter like that from my kids someday. Right now the universe is gracefully spinning around each of them...ages 17, 15, and 13!

    I on occasion call my parents and start the conversation out with the words.." I'm sorry..." Nothing like having your own to bring clarity to former perceptions of reality!

     
  • At 8:23 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    This was lovely. You are a class act through and through. And I could relate to this SOO Much. (SHOPKO!!!! There's one a mile from my house.)

    Growing up, I had a second-hand Cabbage Patch kid, and my husband had the generic Nikes with an upside-down swoosh. Nothing builds character like hand-me-downs and love.

     
  • At 9:13 PM, Blogger Jackie said…

    And yet another reason why I keep going back to your blog. Well put.

     
  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger liv said…

    I feel like I could have written this myself. Not always beautiful, but perfectly put.

     
  • At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Leslie said…

    What an amazing letter. Your parents obviously did a fine job - I hope they're proud.

     
  • At 11:28 PM, Blogger jen said…

    while it's too bad it can take us this long, it's a really lovely place to be. there is so much to be grateful for.

     
  • At 8:56 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    For me, it was the Wranglers instead of the Levis I wanted so desparately.

    Your words brought tears to my eyes. I don't think we ever know what our parents went through to raise us until we become parents. That opened my eyes so much.

     
  • At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Meg said…

    You gotta love powered milk.
    "Moooom, we're outta milk."
    "Well, make some more."

    II have such a vivid memory of the yellow plastic pitcher we made it in.

     
  • At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Redneck Mommy said…

    What a mouthful. I wish I could say this to my folks.

    I only hope my kids learn the same lessons we have.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    Funny how much we learn as we grow older. Glad you had the opportunity to tell your parents.

     

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