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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.

Love,

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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A Small Lesson In Gratefulness

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“I’m really a nice person,” he said. “I’m just nervous.” I wrinkled my forehead. “Nervous about what?” I asked. “I’m on my way back home to Florida and they’re on a hurricane watch.” I threw him a smile. “If things aren’t looking good, they won’t allow your flight to leave,” I said. I honestly didn’t know much, but I was just hoping to make him feel better. It made me feel a little warm inside when I saw genuine relief come over his face. “I guess you’re right.”

“And I haven’t felt like myself lately,” he went on. “I just recently lost my wife of 34 years to cancer.” He looked up at me and I saw a nothingness in his eyes. Pure helplessness, complete loss. “I – I’m so sorry.” That was all I could muster. What does one say in situations like these? “I understand”? Because we don’t. We don’t understand. Not at all.

His soup came and awkwardly I continued to make drinks as he took small spoonfuls. After he’d finished he asked for the bill, and it’d left my tongue before I could stop it; “Don’t worry about it,” I said.

“No.” It was a stern no, like my father used to say when I was small and misbehaving, or the no I tell the dog when she’s begging at dinner time. I put my elbows on the bar. “I don’t pity you,” I said. “No one wants that. I’m not doing that here. I just want to do something for you. It’s measly, but it’s something. Because I am so sorry about what you went through.” And that’s when my eyeballs almost dropped a few extra ingredients into the Long Islands I was mixing.

When I put his drink on the bar I thought he had the typical attitude problem, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My eyes opened wide on a Thursday morning, and I hugged my blessings a little tighter that day because of it.

xoxo

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