The Root of my Adult Envy: a Fair Parent

My dad was always fair, too fair. As a child my sister and I always got the same presents. Even on each other’s birthdays. Family relatives were told the if they wanted to buy one of us a birthday gift that they were also to buy the other sister the same gift.  Kinda crazy right?

At Christmas we had to open presents together, because we were both getting the same thing. 2 boxes, same toy inside. It’s a good thing we’re both girls – or it could have gotten interesting. As you can imagine as we got older we stopped being okay with the same gifts – our interests were no longer in the same stream of toys. But my Dad insisted in fairness. If my sister’s gift was even slightly more expensive than mine I would receive a cheque for the difference. Oh, and here’s $10 dollars for the difference.

One year, (yes we only went once) we went to the local fair as a family. My sister and I played knock over the whatever game and the guy manning the game “bumped” the table as my sister threw her ball.  CONGRATULATIONS – YOU WIN! My turn, and I cannot knock any over and, the guy says “sorry – my boss is right there” dad was furious! I’m sure this is classic carny BS but my dad was SO FLAMING MAD we immediately left the fair and the beautiful stuffed cat that my sister got went into storage to never be played with by either of us. 

And sure – there are some parents out there applauding my dad for being so meticulous.  WRONG! — hold your applause.

I love my dad, but this is has plagued me everyday I grow more into my adulthood. I recently my anniversary and I didn’t get any anniversary gifts. So what? exactly – I don’t need anything so why would I even think about it? Well, because I have watched the in-laws give other kids anniversary gifts. The interested thing is that others haven’t even noticed, and likely never will.

I still keep a little tally, they gets that, then I get this –  yup that’s even.

I do think its honourable that my dad tried to protect me from the hurt of the real world; he even succeeded for many years. However, now as an adult it’s set up up for hurt feelings over and over again. Anniversary presents are just one example. The key thing is that life is unfair. Sheltering children from that prevents them from learning how to deal with it early on. Now I’m an adult, with adult emotions, trying to sort through them and deal with the bad ones as necessary, *sigh* this would have been easier to learn when I was 6 at the fair.

– Sigh. Frustrated with myself, Joy.


5 thoughts on “The Root of my Adult Envy: a Fair Parent

  1. as my sister has always said “Fair doesn’t always mean even”, and it makes sense, sometimes what is fair doesn’t mean it’s the same dollar amount!!
    Of course, at Christmas we all laugh, cause my mom tends to buy us all the same thing – when we all get the same sized present, it’s a rush to see who opens it first! My sister opened sheets, and then so did her son, my son, her daughter and then me! But, that’s my mom finding a good deal, not trying to be fair!
    So, yes, tough life lesson to learn as an adult, but you know what? My parents didn’t make everything “even” when we were kids and I still have to stop myself from keeping score. So, maybe it’s not just you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Joy! I think your dad is ridiculous! To me that sounds like he’s creating a competition where there isn’t one.
    While I’m all about teaching children the “truths of life” I think there’s a line to be drawn:
    Should kids get a birthday gift when it’s not their birthday? No. I even think the concept of a goody bag is wrong.
    However, I think spending the same amount (or approximate amount, the $10 cheque thing is ridiculous) is fair.
    I think splitting up the chores is fair and right. I came from a family where we weren’t treated equally. Sure my parents probably spent the same amount but I always had more chores and responsibilities. My brother was very indulged. It’s really evident now that we’re adults.
    I guess that will be the biggest struggle when I have kids, knowing where to draw the line.


    • Katie Marie, I totally agree. Its so much harder to learn that life lessons as an adult. I know them by logic in my head but not being bothered by them is almost impossible.


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