I was reading Ned Hickenson’s blog earlier today about That time I organized an escaped hamster posse, which made me think of the things we do for our kids. Now his daughter had a hamster, well mine had a rat, courtesy of my sister. This was a lab rat, so he really wasn’t used to being handled, and had a tendency to bite you if you weren’t careful. He preferred his cage over us and pizza crusts.
We had the rat for about a year or two, when he started to develop these nasty tumors on his skin. The first time I took him to the vet, I was told they could remove them but most likely the tumors would return, and then I would have to make a more serious decision. We decided to let the vet remove the tumors, and basically hoped for the best. Well it was a few months later, the tumors reappeared, and this time, there were lots, so a decision was made to put the poor guy asleep since there was no real treatment, and he was now pretty much covered with them.
Being a big suck though, I decided we would lie to our kids. Not my most proudest parenting moment, but I was just not ready to tell our two girls, mommy is having the rat
killed put down. So I took the rat to the vet, and when I came home without him, I lied. For years this worked, the girls believed he had died naturally. Eventually though, I couldn’t keep listening to them tell a story that wasn’t true, so I sucked it up, and told them the truth. Surprisingly they weren’t mad that I had put him asleep, I guess because they knew in their heart how ill he was, they were more upset that mom had lied.
Now there are parents out there right now, who are saying “OMG, how could you lie”. Well, I don’t have an answer, I just couldn’t tell them the truth at that moment.
My father was a complicated man, a character some might say. He was very smart, he held his own in conversations about history, politics, and religion. While working shifts, he attended night school at McMaster University. I remember my mother telling us to be quiet because dad had an essay to write. He was a steel worker, who at one time had dreams of being a teacher, but with a family to support, teacher’s college was out of reach.
He was also a man I really could never really figure out. Take a look at this picture of me as a toddler, note the bottom right hand corner.
I had a doll that was black. I don’t know the history behind this picture, and my parents, grandparents have been gone for a number of years, so there is no one to ask. Why do I wonder? When I was in grade ten, I was out with my girlfriend, who attended a different high school than I. She wanted to drop by a school mates house, and he was Black (I use the word ‘Black’ only because it was 1976, and that was how my father thought). I knew I would get in trouble for this visit, and when I got home late, my father started the angry questions. I tried to lie about where I was, but failed. I don’t remember the exact words my father used, but I certainly was never to go over to this boy’s house again.
Fast forward a number of years, and my father’s attitude/thought process changes. My one brother adopts an African-American child, and this child is welcomed into the family. My other brother is encouraged by my father to marry a lovely woman from Guyana (sadly Veronica passed away at the young age of 30).
My father had changed. He was no longer that man in 1976, who thought it was wrong to go to another person’s house, who was of a different race.
It has been a tradition in our house for years that the children are allowed to open one gift on Christmas eve. Once they pick a present to open, there is no going back and changing your mind. Now my husband saves numerous odd shaped boxes, and toilet rolls to wrap presents in disguise, and he is very, very good at it. I must say also, that the eldest has learned the tricks of his trade. For example, this was the gift she wrapped for her cousin:
He had no idea what we had given him for Christmas. I helped her wrap all the cd’s individually then she made them into a star, but back to middle child. She of course thought she had picked out an amazing gift to open on Christmas eve, but hubby and I knew differently. I believe she may have waited until after her brother and sister opened their gifts. The anticipation was even more exciting for hubby and I.
When it was finally her turn, she slowly opened the gift, and lo and behold what did she find….socks! Oh my goodness, was she ever shocked. Her exact words were “What kind of parent buys socks for their kid on Christmas?” Well as it turned out her parents do. We were all in laughter, she was between laughter and tears, not quite knowing what to do, as she repeated over and over “What kind of parent buys socks for their kid on Christmas?” She tried to get us to let her open another gift but rules are rules on Christmas eve, only one present regardless of what it is. On each Christmas eve now, she is very leery when choosing a present to open, “Are they socks, she asks?” We laugh and shrug our shoulders, maybe, maybe not.