You Have to Share

Sep 4, 2009

The other day, as I was once again trying to get my three-year-old son, Bennett, to fall asleep in his bed (by making the cardinal mistake of lying down with him), he began to throw a temper tantrum because he wanted me to put his closet light on for the nap.

“No,” I told him. “You don’t need the light. It’s daylight outside.”

“I want the yight!” he yelled.

“No!” I said.

“I want the yight!” he screamed louder.

“No!” I said, beginning to match my voice to his. “No light!”

“You have to share!” he cried.

“Share?” I said. “This is not about sharing. This is about compromise. Can you say compromise?”

He looked at me blankly.

“Compromising,” I continued, “means that if I have to give in and sleep in this miserably uncomfortable bed, though I’d rather be in my own, so that you will fall asleep, YOU need to give in and leave the light off. Got it? Compromise.”

He stared at me like I had lost all my marbles.

And then, as I could have predicted, he screamed again. “I want the yight on! You have to SHARE!”

I closed my eyes and tuned out the racket he was making until he fell asleep.

And then, once again, I began to think about the situation. (It seems I do my best thinking, lately, lying in that little blue car bed while he snores next to me.)

“You have to share!” he’d said.

He says that a lot these days. About everything.

Whenever he wants something of his sister’s or brother’s or mine, he informs us that we have to “share.” And, to be honest, why wouldn’t he use that phrase? I mean, he certainly hears it enough in his own life. I am constantly telling him that he needs to share his toys with his brother or his goldfish crackers with his sister. He goes to school and they tell him, all day long, that he has to share –the crayons, the cars, the dress-up costumes – with his friends. So, why wouldn’t he tell me that I have to share, too?

The thing is, though. I don’t want to share. I’m tired of sharing. Sharing is one big drag.

I know. I know. That sounds so terrible. I mean, life is about sharing, isn’t it? I share a life with my husband. I share my paycheck with him and he with me. We share the cars. We share the responsibility of raising our kids (though, of course, most of that falls on me, but I won’t get into that in this post. In fact, I only added that because I want to see if he’s reading my blog. If he is, I’m sure I’ll hear about that comment!)

And, when you have kids, you are constantly sharing. I share the food on my plate with them. I share my hair ties with my daughter. I share my bed with them at night when they want to sleep with us. I share the computer when they want to play games.

But sometimes, a lot of the time lately, I just don’t feel like sharing with them.

I don’t always want to let them have the last sip of my very precious, caffeine-filled, Coke. I don’t want to share half of my cookie, the last one in the box, with them after dinner. I would much rather not have to share the granola bar that I keep in my purse in case I ever need an energy boost. I’m the one who needs the energy. Not them, that’s for sure.

My son is always getting into my makeup. “Stop it!” I tell him.

“You have to share!” I hear.

No, I don’t have to share. I do not want tiny fingerprints in my foundation. I do not desire to have my mascara wiped across the bathroom mirror. I do not want to share, Sam-I-Am (or whatever your name is).

I don’t want to share my sunglasses with the kids. Why? Hmmm . . . maybe because the kids’ idea of sharing is breaking them.

I hate the thought of sharing my toothbrush with them, yet they always seem to use it. And, as for my closet . . . can a woman not have one spot in her entire house that is off limits to the people under four feet? Or, do I have to let them rummage through my jewelry and try on all my shoes, too?

Am I selfish? Maybe a little. Am I a terrible mom? I’d like to think that I’m not. But, if not wanting to share every little thing all the time makes me one, well then . . . I’ll take the label.

Because, sometimes, I just need an item, or a space, which is all mine. I need to remember what it felt like when everything I had (including my body, which is constantly being climbed all over, spit on, pooped on, and puked on) wasn’t community property.

Now, don’t worry. I recognize that when my kids are all grown up, there are a lot of things I’m going to miss. I try, all the time, when the natives are driving me nuts, to hum the chorus to that Trace Adkins song, “You’re Gonna Miss This,” in order to remind myself that these are precious times and to not take them for granted.

But, despite all of that, I am pretty certain that I will never, ever, ever miss having to share every little thing with every little, tiny person in my life.

And, if you happen to hear me, one day, say differently, please show this blog post to me.

That reminder, I promise you, is one thing I will not mind sharing.


Kim said...

You are a good mom, Kelly ;-)

Kelly Seiler said...

Thank you! :-)

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