Parenting isn’t easy. You want to do right by your children and raise them to be honest, responsible, hard-working, caring individuals and hope that they will carry those traits into adulthood. Teaching responsibility by actions works better than just by word. At least that’s what I believed when I was a young mother raising three boys.
It would be nice if kids came with an instruction manual each time a child was born. New child, new manual to fit the different person that child will become. Unfortunately that’s not the way raising children works. Sometimes it’s just do the best you can, learning as you muddle along, hopefully gaining wisdom from any mistakes you make. I can assure you I have learned a great deal during my 63 years of life. I’m still learning.
Sharing one bedroom with five sisters meant there was a place for everything and everything was to be in its place. In other words, I couldn’t and still can’t, handle clutter. For me that meant when you were done with something you put it away. I mean, my sisters and I always kept our things picked up and put away. I didn’t take into consideration that boys could or would be different in that respect. Well, at least the males in my family, from the oldest to the youngest, were different in that clutter didn’t seem to bother them.
Years of sharing one bedroom with five sisters evidently resulted in some psychological side effects. Clutter around our house drove me nuts when our sons were at home and it still does today. I learned my lesson so when the clutter starts to get to me I have more self-control now when it comes to the urge to throw things away.
The truth is when my boys were toddlers they loved to help, picking up their toys and helping me with little chores but as they grew older, sadly, that changed. As I said before, I wanted to be sure my boys were learning responsibility and to appreciate what you have. I also believed that when it came to raising children, you should always say what you mean and do as you say.
That belief would bite me in the ass big time. If I could have a “life moment do over” this story is about one of those times.
My middle son has always been a huge fan of Godzilla. He would watch all those 1960’s, black and white movies over and over whenever they were shown on television. When the movies came out for VCR’s he could watch them whenever he wanted. One Christmas, when he was 9 or 10 years old, perhaps 11, Santa brought him the action figure, Godzilla. A lever at the back of his head made him spit fire and you could push a button his arm and his fist would fly off. My boy loved that toy. I can still see the look on his face when he opened his present. His eyes sparkled with happiness and his grin was so big that it seemed like it went from ear to ear.
My boys were and sometimes still are procrastinators, especially my middle son. Getting them to pick up after themselves was not always easy as they got older and I would often have to repeat myself.
One day they were totally ignoring me and I finally told them if I had to pick up their toys they would all go in the garbage. This is where my “say what you mean and do as you say” belief comes in. They wouldn’t put their toys away so I grabbed a garbage bag, picked up their toys and everything I picked up went into said garbage bag. This happened on the day for garbage pick up so out went the bag full of toys. I made sure to let the garbagemen know that one particular bag was full of toys, not garbage.
Now for the lesson to be learned.
The look on my son’s face broke my heart but I believed I was teaching him a valuable lesson. When Hubby came home from work he saw something was wrong with our middle son and asked me what happened. I told him everything and he just looked at me. “Why didn’t you just put the bag in the attic” he said.
I hadn’t thought of that and the realization of what I had done hit me…..hard. I carried Godzilla guilt for years after that and still do when ever I think about what I did that day.
Fast forward 20 plus years and my sons are married with families of their own. One day the entire family was together at our home and my sons started reminiscing about things from their childhood and the subject of Godzilla was raised. They joked and laughed, including my middle son, but I saw the look in his eyes. It was that same look he’d had as a little boy when I screwed up and put his Godzilla out in the garbage. Right then and there I was determined to replace his Godzilla. This idea led to my first adventure with Ebay.
I registered with Ebay and then began my search until I found the same Godzilla as the one I’d thrown away so many years ago. It was close to the end of the bidding time so I placed my bid, increasing my bid until I was the highest bidder. I sat at the computer, staring at the screen smiling. This was so easy. What I didn’t realize, being an Ebay virgin, was that some bidders will wait until the very last few seconds to place a higher bid. The fact that our internet at that time was AOL dial-up and it sucked didn’t help. I lost that Godzilla. It took a while, but I found another Godzilla, and this time I increased my bid, finger on the key, ready to hit it at the last possible second and….the internet connection failed. I lost again.
Now I’m pissed. Hubby was with me when I finally found another Godzilla and this time I was determined to win. I set my highest bid at $500.00. Hubby started to say something but the look on my face told him silence was the best course of action. No one out bid me and I had my Godzilla. The amount of my winning bid shall remain between me and Godzilla.
Holding on to that Godzilla until Christmas was one of the most difficult things I’ve done but it was worth the wait. I made sure that was the last present my son opened and for once none of my sons were able to guess what the gift was. The look on his face was the same as that Christmas all those years ago when Santa gave him that first Godzilla. You know, the one I threw away.
To this day Godzilla stands on a shelf with my son’s other collectables and no one is allowed to touch him, not even his boys. The exception was the day I removed Godzilla from his shelf to take this picture. Don’t worry son, no garbage bag was used in the taking of this picture.
I like to think that my Ebay Godzilla is actually my son’s original toy. One of the garbagemen rescued Godzilla from the dump and later decided to sell him on EBay where I found him. A Mom can dream. It also helps ease the guilt I sometimes still feel knowing I hurt my child’s feelings.
By the way, I did get my “life moment do over”……grandchildren.
All rights reserved. I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.