Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Book appendix (part 2)
The first thing that I find unusual about you is that you’re very anxious to give us, your family, whatever we want. I see this as a sign that you love us because from what I have heard about how you act around other people, that is not at all how you act, but rather trying to get what you want through manipulation or whatever. That’s one of the things I would say to sum you up is that you are one of the most generous people I have met. You’re always so willing to give time, money—anything.
I think it’s funny, I’m more guarded around you because sometimes I throw out ideas or desires to you even if I don’t really want them. But I’m more careful what I say around you because you’re likely to make it actually happen. You’re just big on having people do what they want to do, so I think that if I said I wanted to go to a certain place, you’d say “let’s do it.” I would give my reasons why I wasn’t going to, and you’d give your reasons why it would be good and just push for it. Or it’s funny, when I tell you things like “I like those slippers,” and you say, “you can have them.” I never know what you mean by that, if it means “I don’t really like them” or if it means that you do like that thing, but if you hear someone say that they really like it, you want to give someone what they really like because you think it’s better for the economy of the family to give someone what they really like rather than have you keep something that you just kind of like.
But, at the end of vacation time spent with family when you get cranky. It’s almost as if you’re too tired to do it anymore.
But I think it is the most humorous with the children, because you are equally as anxious to give them whatever they want. Maybe even more anxious. It’s very interesting to watch because no other normal adults I have met are willing to give children whatever they want. And children are subject to so many whims. But you take them all seriously. “Do you want to play the piano?” “Would you like to dance?” And so the children love you so much. And I think it’s ironic that you think that you won’t connect with your own children, should you have any, because that is a very strong connection to children. However there are those moments when you say “That baby is driving me crazy,” and few other human beings say that as well. “Man, Charlie is being so rotten right now.” Or “So and so is so cute.” Or when you ask my children “Which of your brothers do you like better?”
With the older kids, sometimes you bother me because you’re trying to figure out if they’re like you so you ask them questions, leading questions, like “which person do you like more?” And sometimes, like the other night, when you tried to trick Alan into thinking that Byron said he liked Charlie better, that is where I draw the line. I intercede in those moments to tell him “No, he did not say that.”
I thought it was interesting when you said that you have a hard time connecting with my children, because you said you don’t understand them? I define them as being perfectly normal children. You don’t understand them because they’re compassionate? Is that it? Or is it because they’re more emotionally driven and they let their emotions dictate their behavior? It’s more primal in children, it seems easy to understand to me.
You’re very good at giving the children gifts. They are very age appropriate. Most people find that to be difficult. I think parents are much better than grandparents, but in some ways you’re even better than parents because you remove the selfish component of gift giving. I think sometimes parents don’t want to give certain presents to children because they’re too loud, messy, take up too much space, or because they want something for their children rather than thinking what the children really want. And grandparents probably just want what is easier to find.
Maybe your ability has something to do with your ability to process what they enjoy. Maybe it’s because you’re always keyed into making other people happy, so you’ve been even trying to make the little people happy and thinking in those moments, “what would make them happy right now?” So it’s easier for you to think—what gift would make them happy.
The children are always so excited to see you. You are their favorite aunt or uncle.