It was only a couple of days ago that I stood back and admired my work. It was pristine, immaculate, and perfect. I felt like Michelangelo probably did as he gazed up at the Sistine Chapel. Yet now, only days later, what had been clean, fresh and spotless was now a total mess. Almost spontaneously, the words “I can never have nice things.” fell off my lips. I had just said something my dad would have said.
I guess it was a knee jerk reaction. I have plenty of nice things, but my daughter seems to have set forth some sort of claim on everything. This wall that I had just beautifully painted in my house was now graffitied with her “art”. It was like Banksy had broken in and left a message for me. When I confronted her, I could tell she thought she was helping. She didn’t know any better.
I forgave her quickly, but that six word phrase, “I can never have nice things” really resonated. My father said it so many times that I was convinced he was never proud of anything he owned. Everything he had was spoiled or defective because I had done something to it. Talk about a life full of guilt. Sure there was the time I threw a football into the passenger window of his truck. But I never did anything that couldn’t be fixed. And, in my defense, it was a very good throw. Tight spiral, nice velocity.
I once came home to my new flat screen television covered in a toddler’s hieroglyphics. Turns out that my daughter thinks anything with a flat screen is also a touch screen. I was a little annoyed because I could see my wife thinking it was the cutest thing before she stopped her. I love my television. I’ve spent countless hours bonding with my Sony, only for it to be completely defaced by the newcomer in the family.
But now, every time I walk by that wall or turn on the television, I am reminded of the innocence of children. I know that my father ended up experiencing the same thought as he got older. He came to the realization that all those nice things he has are just things. And they are only as good as the people you share them with. He instilled in me a sense of pride for those things that you work hard for, but also humility to accept that those things are also perishable. Even if it’s admiring the shattered window of a car. Maybe I am bound to never have nice things because they too often become a target for destruction in my house, but I am learning to be at peace with this realization. I know that I can’t fault my kid for being a kid. In fact, just like my dad, I am learning to appreciate it.
Image Source:// All Author’s Own