Dear Future Child, Don’t be an ungrateful asshole.

Look how cute and cuddly this guy is. Ugh.

Look how cute and cuddly this guy is. Ugh.










When I was small, my parents took me to see the Ringling Bros. I was just like any other kid at the circus: eyes wide, ass barely in seat, popcorn in shirt, hands stretched out and flailing for every cheap souvenir that appeared within view. I am an only child, and as stereotypical as they come. I was a brat then, and though it may be hard to admit….I am now, too, even though these hands are now reaching for expensive lipsticks and shoes instead of stuffed animals.

I asked for a lot each Christmas. A ridiculous amount. A novel of a list that included both my parents and Santa. But no time of year could escape my greedy grasp. I wanted it all. Now.

So when we scooted into our circus seats and my parents presented me with an adorable stuffed tiger, instead of calling out a grateful “thank you” I twisted my face into a disappointed grimace and said “THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANTED”.

This horrid behavior haunts me to this day. Seriously. I just talked with my mother before sitting down to write this post, and when I told her of my years old regret she laughed at me. The woman I so carelessly scorned so long ago laughed at the memory of my inconsiderate behavior. The laughter didn’t make me feel any less shitty, however.

What’s more, after whining “THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANTED” I proceeded to tell them what I did want: a stuffed elephant with some sort of plastic circus performer riding on its back. Really? How was I going to cuddle with the elephant with some cheap, plastic doll attached to it? The tiger was the better of the two souvenirs, obviously. But my feeble mind could not comprehend that.

So what did they do? They took it back and bought me the elephant, and I was satisfied. I was deeply, selfishly, disgustingly satisfied. And I forever regret it, even though my mother thinks it’s funny now.

And with that, I have this to say.

Dear Future Child,

Don’t be an ungrateful asshole….like your mother.


Your Future Parents

Like this, but picture some Barbie knock-off on top.

Like this, but picture some Barbie knock-off on top.


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23 responses to “Dear Future Child, Don’t be an ungrateful asshole.

  1. Future child…fait accompli or just preemptive action? You ARE a newlywed, after all 😉

    Great post – I was an only child as well, saved from brattiness only by iron-handed discipline from a single dad with a short fuse; but I still managed to have some moments…which are now providing my therapist a secure financial future 🙂

    • Future as in maybe-this-year-but-not sure future 😉 Thank you, Nick!

      My parents were way too kind, especially in this situation. I saw a therapist for a while too, for other issues that stemmed from my youth. Maybe it’s an only child thing?

  2. Nicole, your parents were so accommodating. I did youth work for about 20 years and dreaded going through the various horrible growth stages with my own kids…I think it made me a bit harsher than I needed to be, I would’ve binned that tiger then and there and threatened to feed you to a lion if you continued whining/crying/etc. They’re remarkably balanced young adults, I must admit…their Mum’s influence…you’ll be fine, darl.

    • I commend you for that kind of work, REDdog. Talk about patience. Sheesh. Thank you. 🙂 They lost their patience at times, but somehow didn’t in this situation. I think I would have!!

  3. My dad would have told me to live with it, as I would my children.

  4. Haha! Okay this could be inspiration for a future blog post at some point. I worry about this as well– but with my kids being some sort of weirdo adventure junkies. I look at some of the things I’ve done and I am like HELL NO would I let my kid anywhere near such an experience.

    • So with you on that one, Aussa. My husband and I worry that between the genes our son got from the two of us, he will either end up in jail or dead from some daredevil stunt. What. Have. We. Done.

    • Glad to inspire some possible future blog post, Aussa! I’d love to read the one. I do the same thing. Yet at the time I was pissed at my parents for causing an uproar when I did said things. But, those feelings ring true generation after generation, don’t they?

  5. This was a really sweet post actually from a mother’s perspective. I’d laugh too being thankful that you grew out of it. It’s funny how we fear our children will be the worst versions of ourselves….see above comment. 🙂

  6. This completely cracked me up. First of all, you are waaay too hard on yourself 🙂 The fact that you’re already worried about how your future child will grow up is insight into the fantastic and perfectly imperfect parents you will be. We had an “incident” with our son last night. He made an awesome selfless choice when he could have easily copped out with whining and excuses. If only I could be more like him. The only metaphor slightly better than a circus to describe parenting would be a roller coaster. Enjoy the ride…you will be great!

    • Glad it made you laugh, lady. 🙂 And thank you for this perspective – it puts me at ease a bit!!! I have a tendency to feel horribly guilty for things I did ten years ago, though. I hate that about myself.

      Sounds like you’re raising an amazing son. 🙂

  7. We all do stupid shit as kids, we were kids. We only thought of our selves. I don’t know your mother but she may have laughed because your behavior wasn’t such a big deal to her or she had forgotten about it.
    I’ll never forget the day I graduated college. I was standing in the kitchen of my parent’s house with my two good buddies. We were always in trouble for smoking weed and drinking beer. My Dad was standing there with us and said, “you guys weren’t such bad kids”. I guess he forget about picking me up at the police station or coming home totally smashed all the time. I was a problem child.
    Often, though not always, memories fade. People tend to remember the good times. I often feel like I was the biggest ass hole of a son. But my parents don’t seem to hold it against me.
    Maybe your mom has forgiven and/or forgotten?

    • I think that’s why she laughed, too – knowing that I still feel guilty for something I did when I was eight.

      That’s a great example of a parent’s unconditional love for their child. No matter what, they manage to overlook all the times they wanted to kick your butt, and still hold you on some sort of pedestal. That’s love. 🙂

  8. I think we all have these kinds of memories. Mine was the “oh socks yay” spoken to my elderly aunt who could barely even afford socks. The good new though is that it does haunt us because we turned into pretty great considerate and grateful people.

  9. I was never like that as a kid. Since my birthday was 15 days after Christmas, I have the ‘this is your Christmas present AND your birthday present!’ speech as my fun childhood Christmas memory.

    I’m over it now! Now Christmas is for the kids, but my birthday is for me.

  10. (continued, oops) but don’t worry about your one thing, because you’ve been awesome thousands of other times and that far outweighs your one tiny childhood boo-boo.

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