Recently we were invited to un goûter de Noël : an informal gathering whereby we eat finger food/hors d'oeuvres and chat awhile. As Noël was approaching the host requested that we have a little present/gift exchange for the kids. I was told by Shrek who was informed by the host to bring symbolic gifts under 5 Swiss Francs. As I am wont to do I took the route of cheapskate, minimalist approach and so we came with cheapskate petits cadeaux. Shrek was flabbergasted by the kids reaction as they were expecting quelque chose de beau et genial...malheureusement their expectations were not fulfilled and so dissappointment ensued. I felt bad that I had not brought gifts above the suggested symbolic mark as others brought more consequential presents.
So I am the cheapskate or radine or stingy one.
Fair enough...I was reprimanded and chastised by a furious Shrek whom if I had not known any better made it out to sound like I had committed a serious or heinous crime against humanity and that I would have to repent my sin now. Also I was reminded that as a consequence of my actions I should live on a deserted island no less because my social skills are lacking and this will in turn affect my children's ability to make and maintain friendship. Seriously I need to just take a step back and remind Shrek that if he was right then by now I would have no friends, on the contrary I have very generous, loyal and good friends whom I still see eventhough we are separated by two continents. Shrek on the other hand has very few friends that he still maintains regular contact with eventhough he is far more generous than I. Friendship does not begin or resume with one or several faux pas such as the one I committed herewithin. It is a complex relationship that needs constant work and it definitely has to be a 2-way street otherwise it becomes tiresome and wearisome. I understand that I have to improve this aspect of my personality : concretely to attempt to be more generous but I do not feel that the weight of what Shrek had charged me with is proportional to what I did. Finally big deal if kids were dissappointed, if it was our kids they will just brush it off in no time. Kids these days receive gifts and do not take the time to appreciate. The novelty of something brushes off soon after the act of opening presents. They play with it intensely for a few days and the week after it has already been relinquished to the has been.
I want my kids to appreciate all the simplicity and complexity and beauty life has to offer. It is not always about material things but we often forget this and try to give our children the very best we can offer and more often than not this is tied in with how much something costs.