Can We Talk About The Giving Tree?

Messiful Mama – Embracing life one beautiful mess at a time

Can We Talk About The Giving Tree?

Last week, I read a few books to my daughter’s 1st grade class; I’m famous like that. I think there might have been one or two students who had never heard it, but I think they were a little too shy to speak up. Most of them have heard it several times. At least 3 shouted out that it was their Favorite book, and I think that’s how a lot of people feel about it. The friend of mine who gave it to my son years ago loved it as well. I, on the other hand, never really follow the crowd and there’s something about that book that has just never sat right with me.

That boy was a butt hole!

I know the whole message is that it makes you happy to give, and I can totally get on board with that. I never feel more joyful than when I’m spreading happiness and love, but sharing joy should never come at the Expense of our own. There’s nothing wrong with sacrifice, we’re moms, we do it all the time. There is something wrong with always running on empty! He completely stripped the tree bare! First he took the apples. Then the branches. Then he completely cut the tree down, and Sat on the stump!  I’ve been that stump before, and that part made me a little emotional. The whole book is a perfect metaphor for the mother child relationship, but that story is Not okay from either angle.

We all know that kids can suck you dry, then hang around flaunt all your essence in your face as you try to Scramble and refill. I don’t deny that this is often the reality, especially with kids under 5, but I’d like to point out that there is absolutely Nothing noble about pouring from an empty cup! Giving every last ounce of yourself all the time is just Too much.  I used to wear it like a badge of honor like, “look how far I can go on fumes, aren’t I awesome?!” That’s not awesome, it’s Ridiculous. Every mom has to do it from time to time. We have a deadline, or an agonizing social studies project to help them complete by the morning, and we only just found about it an hour before bedtime, the initial assignment is a crumpled wad in the bottom of their book bag. Those times should be the Exception, though, not the rule. It took me way too long to learn this lesson. My body continued to crash and my health continued to be compromised until I got the message that my body didn’t really appreciate being treated like the first slice of bread; Skipped over until it gets moldy and thrown away. Actually, I was getting the messages all along, I just wasn’t paying attention. Probably because I thought I was just doing what “good” moms do. Let our children slowly kill us.

When they’re bite sized, it comes with the territory, but as they begin to loose teeth they’re at an age where we can start teaching them how Not to be a butt hole. It may not stick right away, and unfortunately there are a few who will never absorb, but with most children you will see small victories Sooner than you expect. I’m almost embarrassed so say how much I used to do for my kids. I come from a background where I lacked quite a bit emotionally and materialistically, and in return I was totally Overindulging them. Satisfying the most selfish requests even when it meant I had to drive, with my foot in a boot,, and crutches in the back seat, to go get fruit snacks for lunch the next day. They didn’t like the animal crackers or granola bars that are in the pantry, it was the least I could do. Yeah, I don’t do that anymore! Now, if they don’t like one of the options you can Politely pass and ask that it be included in the next shopping trip, which will likely be tomorrow. -Wegmans and I are soul mates, Danny just doesn’t know it yet. – If that doesn’t work, they can either eat what we have or participate in the most Radical revolution since kids began eating twelve times a day. They could not eat snack. Gasp! I know, how could I even suggest such a thing when we know they’re going to melt in between meals.

Someone should have told that boy when he was carving into the tree that we don’t brand and destroy the people we love, because he ended up growing up to be and entitled jerk who chopped her down, and Sat on her! Sorry, still can’t get over that part. I secretly try to hide this book from my kids all the time. I know it Intends to send a message of selflessness and generosity, but to me it just represents all the kids who have a weekly Starbucks budget and don’t even clean their room. I’m not pointing fingers, I’m totally talking about my kids here, but I suspect it rings true for at least one of you out there. Now that delicious lemon pound cake and vanilla bean frappuccino comes with a price. You gotta Pull your weight, so mama can put her feet up once in a while and pour a little “Juice” in her cup!    

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or if you completely disagree and I just reminded you that you lost your only copy, you can find this book Everywhere! It would make a great holiday book because kids really do love it. My only suggestion would be to use it as a teaching moment. No one likes a butt hole, so Don’t be a butt hole!

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