No matter how you raise your kids, no matter the master plan, the daily lessons, or the lessons you hope to last a lifetime, the death of a child at an early age is never factored in. Imagine you are having a conversation with your child, lets say about curfew. You stress all the points you are trying to make, all the pros and cons, all of the reasons why they need to be home at a certain hour. You discuss the fact, in my house anyway, that a curfew is a rule it has nothing to do with trust. You hope and pray that one day your child will see the reasoning and have the same conversation with their children. I had several such conversation’s with Jarrett and Lindsay over the past years, and still do with Jarrett today. As a parent all you want for your children is for them to be happy, no matter their income, relationship status, choice of career or age. When, as a parent, you are trying to teach a child life lessons you never think their life is going to be to short to experience them.
This is an example of one of such situation. Lindsay loved the “little blue box,” you know, the one from Tiffany’s. Which what woman does not love the little blue box. For her 15th birthday here at the house she wanted a Tiffany’s party. She wanted everything Tiffany blue, from the plates and napkins to the icing on the cupcakes.
So we went with that, I was just glad she didn’t ask for any actual Tiffany boxes. Needless to say she had a great time and enjoyed the evening with around sixteen screaming young ladies. When Kelli and I got married we asked both our daughters, Alyssa and Lindsay, to be apart of the wedding party which traditionally meant we needed to get them a gift. Where, oh where should we get their gifts from, oh right Tiffany’s. Lindsay bugged Kelli to death to find out what was in that little blue box, she could not wait to open it.
I came up with an idea for Jarrett and Lindsay’s sixteenth birthday’s. Kelli and I discussed it and decided to move forward. When they were 15 and 13 respectably, we all sat down and I told them,” For each of your sixteenth birthday’s you can choose a very nice gift, have a huge party or you can go anywhere in the United States you want to go, within reason, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Before I could finish I heard the words “New York!” I remember saying “No party, no gala, no sweet sixteen extravaganza?” “No sir, New York.” She did love New York City, Brooklyn and Long Beach. So the planning began and in September of 2014 we took off to New York. Where do you think one of the first places Lindsay wanted to go?
You guessed correctly. I remember walking up to the door and the gentleman in the picture above was just standing there, I assume as sort of advertisement. So I asked him “Do you mind taking a picture with my daughter?” He replied “Absolutely not.” Great memory. We went inside walked around and LOOKED as we always did. I saw Lindsay fixated on one of the display counters. She was looking at a bracelet and could not take her eyes off of it. I walked over to her and asked her “What are you looking at?” She took a breath and said “That bracelet, isn’t it beautiful? Being who I am, my first response was not one to express the beauty of the piece, it was to ask “How much?” I could not tell you what she said if my life depended on it, and it really didn’t matter because I had no intention of buying it. I explained to Lindsay that this trip was her birthday gift, we could not swing an expensive piece of jewelry as well. I could see she was disappointed but she understood. I asked her “Did you received enough money for her birthday to buy it?” She said, “Yes, but if I buy this I will be broke, it will take everything I have.” Like a fire alarm the dad radar was going off, the life lesson sirens were blaring in my head. So I said to her, “This is your decision to make Sweetie, spend it all now for one thing or save it for the rest of the trip.” I left her to her thoughts and stood close by to see what she decided to do. She stood there agonizing over whether to purchase it or not, but finely she made the decision to walk away. She chose to not spend all her money on the first day, so she could enjoy the rest of the trip with money in her pocket. I was so proud, life lesson learned! You cant always have everything you want, you have to plan for the future, and you need to budget your money. It was a three for one fire sale on life lessons. But wait, I I would give anything to be back in New York, September 2014, in Tiffany’s standing at the front display case on the left side of the second floor beside my daughter looking at that bracelet.
Now, does all this mean myself, or any other parent, should stop trying to teach their kids life lessons and give them everything they want, absolutely not. As parents, I believe, we sometimes think we hold the key to their happiness with our infinite years of wisdom and life lessons already learned. We as parents need to realize that our keys may not fit the locks that hold our children’s happiness. Tomorrow is never promised for anyone and that includes our children. I feel as parents it is our job to teach them all we know, raise them to be self sufficient and love them for who they are as if they are going to live forever, but sometimes we just need to buy, the bracelet.