This morning I was running a late to assist at my daughter's pre-school. Assistants come early, and at the pace we were going we would be lucky to make it by 9 am, when class starts.
As a result of the rushing, which at one point, included a very painful head butt while shoe-tying, we forgot our show-n-tell item for the day. I told my daughter to think of something she wanted to talk about. The teacher, noticing this exchange noted that my daughter was wearing 2 pretty rings and suggested she talk about those.
At this point my panic set in. You'll notice that, like most people, my misgivings usually have something to do with the way we're raising my daughter. (More things they forget to tell you before you have children.)
If you are a regular reader or know me personally, you'll know that this is not a problem for me. I have no issue with second hand items provided they are in nice condition. I'm also not keen on spending large amounts of money on plastic crap. (Or anything really, for that matter.) And finally, if we're going to have some of this junk, then from an environmental standpoint, I prefer secondhand.
This is also not a problem for my daughter. She is 5. She knows she sometimes gets toys from Target but will more easily get toys at a garage sale and that those toys may be bigger or nicer or more plentiful. Heck, I bought her a bike for $10 at a sale at the end of the summer last year because her's was getting too small, with the intention that we would replace it with a new one this year. She doesn't want a new one now. We've asked. Most of her clothes come from the ever-mysterious (to my daughter) 8-Year old Evelyn. When I bring out something "new" she says with awe, "Was that Evelyn's?" When she moved into a big girl bed, she got a lovely sleigh bed, painted a creamy soft yellow. I trash picked it and painted it. This is not a secret in our house. Doing so enabled us to afford an expensive, high quality mattress for her. She loves it and sleeps very well in it.
We live in a happy second-hand bubble.
And it was this bubble that I was afraid was going to burst today. Because I knew, I just knew, she would stand up there all proud and proclaim, "I got these rings at a GARAGE SALE!"
And then what would the kids say?
Turns out they could have cared less. Her teacher told us she frequently takes her grandchildren to garage sales.
But still in the back of my mind, I'm wondering if a day will come when someone makes her feel bad about being proud of her 2nd hand stuff. When she looks at me with a look of skepticism, like I've somehow conned her in some way. Deprived her of something everyone else got and she did not. She does in fact, have a lot of new things as well, I tell myself. But I didn't grow up with second hand items so it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. I'd also be a hypocrite if I made it sound like we don't buy anything new. We do. I'm not any kind of second hand martyr.
It's the pride in her voice that I fear someone will take away from her. And I guess that's the way it goes with most things right? We've all been made to feel bad about something about ourselves. And it feels bad. She doesn't yet know that there are things about her that others will reject or will not like. That hurts me. That hurts me more than the thought that there are things about me that other people don't like.
She'll live. We all do.
I guess I should be happy that she can stand up in front of her peers right now and proclaim something (anything), but the knowledge that it may not always be so, made me a little sad today.
Parenting is by far the thing that taxes me the most, intellectually and emotionally.....