Last Christmas, one of our four gifts to Alice (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read) was an umbrella. Alice loved her umbrella (see post here). In fact, it was probably one of the best gifts we've ever given her. It was a boat! A grocery bag! An island! A tent! And it protected us from an awful lot of spontaneous imaginary rainstorms in the house.
But...Alice started playing pretty rough with it, and eventually it broke. The first few times I tried to fasten the spokes back to the fabric, but she finally damaged it so completely that no matter my fix-it nature, it could not be whole again.
An excerpt from this post retells the story...
"You broke your umbrella the other day. It was your favorite toy and lately you have been playing with your things hard. And carelessly. It broke beyond repair and we had to throw it away. You said, "It's okay, Mama, you can just buy me a new one." It made me sad, because we've been trying to raise you to not think of everything as disposable, or that you're entitled to new things, especially when you haven't taken care of your belongings. I told you that no, you would not be getting a new one. You did not deserve a new one, because you didn't take care of your old one. That got your attention. We're practicing being gentler to our things now, and the new deal is that if you can show me you are responsible with the things you have, then someday you might get a new umbrella. You like this new plan."
A great many tears were shed when we threw the umbrella in the trash, but she learned her lesson and began showing us she could be kinder to her things. While at JC Penny I found a Minnie umbrella on sale ($4.99!) and snatched it up to put in the closet for when we were ready to give it to Alice once she demonstrated more care with her belongings.
So, after a few months of waiting and proving, she got her new umbrella. And this one not only has Minnie, but a bow on top. Suffice it to say, we have one very contrite/grateful/excited little Alice...
Alice, parenting you can be tricky at times, but teaching you our values and seeing them lived out in you is reward enough. You are a sweet little soul who needs gentle (and sometimes intense) correction and guidance at times, but we're in your corner. We're your advocates, not your tyrants. We love you so much it hurts, and we're so proud of the little woman you're growing into.
So happy you earned your umbrella.
Love love love