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Am I the Green Giant or the Incredible Hulk?

April 24, 2011

Every year at Easter, my family gets together to do a big Easter egg hunt for all the kids, but at home we try to steer clear of the materialistic, junk-food-laden part of the holiday. I don’t think we have ever really done the official Easter basket thing at our house before, but on Friday Elliott asked me if the Easter Bunny would be visiting our house this year.  Being a parent who values creativity and imagination, I didn’t want to squash my 5-year-old son’s visions of a giant bunny that brings him goodies while he sleeps. Besides, a chocolate bunny and a few simple gifts are no big deal, right?

And then…

My mother-in-law, who absolutely adores our children, came over Saturday with full Easter baskets for both kids – I’m talking chocolate bunnies, paint-your-own Easter magnets, pastel eggs, cute little outfits, the whole works. While she was there, our mailwoman dropped off a package for the kids… containing… guess what? Two more Easter baskets abound with goodies. They were from the kid’s Aunts. My kids were in Easter heaven!

I am ecstatic that my children are surrounded with love, and uttering the words I’m about to utter makes me feel guilty and unappreciative; but I have to admit the green bean in me had a hard time with all the STUFF. Actually, my first thought was, “How the heck is the Easter bunny (a.k.a. me) going to compete with everything they have already received?” Chocolate bunnies…check. Cute little pastel-hued toys…check. Other random goodies…check. All the loot had been spoken for! The sidewalk chalk & peanut butter-chocolate eggs I had planned for them would be a total bummer if they wake up expecting pastel glory! I had hoped to keep it simple, and to keep the junk food at an enjoyable-yet-minimal level.

Am I a horrible mother, destined to ruin my children’s lives by depriving them of the “traditional” holiday experiences? Am I the Green Giant I strive to be, or have I become the Incredible Hulk? For the moment, I am feeling like my family would think me overbearing and absurd to deny my kids things that bring them such joy. I fear the behind-my-back conversations will be that I should shut up and be grateful that there are so many loving people willing to spoil my kids. Besides, it is only a few times a year.

I may even be risking putting my family members in apprehension of ever buying my kids another gift.

The truth is – I am blessed with an amazing family, but being obsessed with STUFF is not a value I want to instill in my children. I want them to be loved, and I want them to feel special; but I don’t want them to link their happiness and life satisfaction with the receipt and accumulation of STUFF. I want them to feel compelled to follow their dreams, and to find their passion –without material wealth as a motivation. I want their lives to be rich with experiences, simplicity, and the understanding that all living things are connected. We can’t add to our possessions without taking something from somewhere else. I know they are young, but now is the time to start. These are values I want my children to learn. If that makes me the Incredible Hulk, so be it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 6:50 pm

    I can totally relate. My dad usually is of the camp that he will buy Ben something that he needs like a nice winter jacket, high end shoes or an experience, like next year he’ll get ski lessons and season rentals for Christmas. I wish my MIL would ask us. She usually goes overboard at the Dollar Store.

  2. April 27, 2011 7:58 am

    I am constantly cutting back the number of toys we have laying around here. My kids get excited for about 2 minutes, and then most of them barely get played with again. It’s wasteful and excessive. My kids each got 3 chocolate bunnies for Easter. 3! They are 3 & 5 years old! I bagged up most of the candy and sent it to work with my husband – he works with a bunch of college kids.

    Wow, overboard at the Dollar Store means waaaay overboard doesn’t it?

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