Yesterday was Tabbi's birthday, and I am confronted yet again with the challenge of teaching an old dog a new trick.... and that new trick is the act of gratitude. I don't know how you instill something at 12 years old that should have been ingrained in her since birth, and I find myself with less patience about it than ever before.
In this case, it is the difference in her expectations between her mother and us. Her mother celebrated her birthday with her on Saturday, and the gifts given were considerably less than what occurred here. I am not condemning that fact, either. They do what they can afford, and that is enough. I am not an overboard birthday person, and I don't see going into the poor house just to keep up with the Joneses. I say screw the Joneses and the recipient ought to be grateful that people love them enough to do anything. But, in our case.... it is never enough. Our thought isn't what counts at all.
I cooked Tabbi a birthday dinner of whatever she requested. She asked for steak. Steak she received. Then, she made the comment of, "whatever, we're just eating steak or something at home." Uh... didn't I go out and buy nice steaks at your request? And I bought her a giant cookie for dessert. She isn't a cake person, so I thought the cookie was great. Still birthday-ish with candles and writing, but not cake. She proceeds to tell me that she asked her mom for a giant cookie and her mom said no. I didn't even know that, so I am thinking jackpot! I hit the ball outta the park with this one!!! Then, she said that I should have known that she would want ice cream instead, and why couldn't I just get her what she wants? Hmm... my homer just went into foul territory. Uh... because I was trying to do something special. The list could go on and on.
I know that part of the problem is her age, and I have to add that to a heaping serving of "her mom can do no wrong"... but the reality is, I don't want her to think her mother's birthday was wrong. But, I want ours to be right, too. So far the only thing she seems generally pleased about were her gifts, but it is the effort I want her to be grateful for. I want her to be grateful for the party tonight, not bickering because she wants me to take her and her friends to Outback Steakhouse instead of Applebees. I don't want the fact that I am cooking a french toast dish for breakfast instead of buying Dunkin Donuts to be something she gets to be irked about. I want her to be glad that we're doing anything at all. Because at her mom's, that is all it takes. Mention the event and Tabbi is pleased... but here.... our expectations are just unreachable, and I gotta tell ya, I am not going to kill myself trying.