“No, it’s mine. I saw it first.”
Does this sound familiar? It should to anyone who has had toddlers or worked with them even seen them fighting in a store. The whiny, cranky voices grate on the nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.
The sad fact is that we don’t necessarily grow out of it. Sometimes we merely hide it under polite phrases or even nonverbal cues.
There is something I want. I will find a way to get it.
Sometimes the claims are right and just. We have certain rights as human beings and it is not wrong to claim them. We have rights as Americans, as children of our parents, as parents of our children, even as homeowners and renters. We have rights.
But what if claiming those ‘rights’ infringes on the ‘rights’ of another? As a parent, I have the right, the responsibility, to discipline my children. As my children, they have the right to be sheltered and protected. Sometimes that line is blurred. Sometimes I don’t discipline enough and sometimes, I confess, I have gone too far. Sometimes I actually hit the mark. It is one of the hardest jobs for a parent.
My parents are already planning what to leave behind as an inheritance for my sisters and I. Until we get to heaven, death is a part of life, but I hope they don’t leave for a long, long time. With their planning, they are trying to shelter us from the upheaval that will come.
I have seen it in other families who have lost parents. Arguments over who gets what. Fighting over little details, a bit of furniture or jewelry escalates to horrendous proportions. The battles can last for years, sometimes for a lifetime. Huge chasms of pain and anger tear families apart. Sometimes forever.
I can see glimmers of it, the seeds of discord within my own family. A few years ago I would have said it was impossible. We love each other deeply and would never cause that kind of pain just for things. I fear I may have been wrong and it fills me with sorrow.
I have the memories of my parents, of our family through the years of both sorrow and joy. No one can take them from me. They are my inheritance. The things, the items linked to those memories are not important.They are a pale shadow of what is real. My parents are striving to disperse the things in a way that is fair and compassionate. Sometimes the division of things will not be perfect, there will be things that more than one person wants. That is bound to cause some hurt.
I grew up knowing, beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was loved by my family. I was not always understood, my choices are not always the right ones. But I have always been loved. That is such a precious gift that few other families can claim. The more I see of this weary old world, the more I treasure what I have had without question, without doubt. I pray (it has become a fervent prayer) that my family will remember the priceless possession that we already have before they give in to the hurt of things.