If you’re joining from the Living My MoMent Summer Blog Tour, welcome! Somehow I was lucky enough to be given the very last day of the tour. It’s been a long summer, with a lot of wonderful blogs to read, so I hope you enjoy this very last post on this very last day.
My newly revised elevator pitch describes Laughing at Chaos as “an eclectic look at the absurdities and insecurities of raising gifted kids. And a bunch of other stuff.” Today it’s just all about me. For a change, it’s not about the hell of home repair or how my sons are driving me batshit crazy or even the continuing saga of Princess the PMSing Laptop/MacDreamy/MacDreamy2. For the record MacDreamy2 is happy and healthy and loves me because I turn him on every day. Bah dum dum. Thank you folks, I’m here all week, try the veal.
No, today it’s about something else. Something more…sinister. <cue campy bad guy music>
I cannot freaking stand the book “The Giving Tree.” I never read it as a kid, so when Tom bought it for the boys several years ago I was all, “Meh. Whatever.” I’m more of a Dr. Seuss person anyway. And then I read it. Oh my freaking God are you kidding me? Did Silverstein have mother issues? The first time I read it to A I was horrified. The tree/mother kept on giving and giving and giving and what the hell ended up a stump. A STUMP! A stump that became a seat for the boy turned old man. Even as an old man the boy took advantage of the tree. Hey, tree! You don’t need to keep giving like that! It’s ok to tell the boy to go away, I promise he’ll survive the disappointment. You are allowed to refuse to give the boy your apples to sell for money, to refuse to give him your branches to build a house, to refuse to give him your trunk to build a boat. The little shit never visited except to ask for more and more and more, so it’s ok to say no.
Being a mom is a lot like that tree. (Really Jen? Do you worship at the alter of the Goddess of All Obviousness? Yes, yes I do.) Our kids want so much from us and they’ll keep taking until we say no. No, you can’t have that. Why? Because it’s mine and you can manage on your own without it. I will shelter you with my leaves and feed you with my apples but I’ll be damned if I let you destroy me for a house or a boat.
It comes down to self-respect, and that’s where I have such a problem with this book. I worry that moms reading it think they’re failing if they’re not giving til it hurts, but even more, I worry that kids reading it think that that sort of dysfunctional giving is ok. And it’s not. There are limits, and limits are good.
I’m torn between quietly removing the book and reading it with the boys again to see what they think. Given the vast issues we have here with intensities and overexcitabilities, methinks it would be best to take the book out to a farm where it can happily live out its natural life make sure it’s in the next donation box. I just don’t think I have it in me to explain just why this book is insensitive and insulting.
And then I will bring out The Lorax…again…and feed their insatiable appetite to fix all things environmental.
But for me? I will watch this Second City clip again and laugh…because it’s true.