I'm an only child. I think I've mentioned before, my parents divorced when I was very young, and my dad raised me. So I'm also a daddy's girl, who learned early on how to play the guilt-card and one parent off another.
I'm like the perfect storm of spoiled.
So, I went through life not really wanting for much as a kid. "Wardrobe" is really the only fair way to describe what I got for back to school clothes. I got Christmas and Birthday presents like none of my friends had ever seen. Other kids got candy for Easter - one year, I got a television for my room. Everyone - everyone - assumed when I turned sixteen, my dad would buy me a car. When I said, "Dad, I need a car," he said, "No, Susan, what you need is character."
I was old enough for a job, and I was expected to work. Dad didn't care what job I got - but whatever it was, I'd better take it seriously and do my best.
I got a food service job at a local mall. I worked as much as the law would allow and saved every single dime I earned for a year. I bought a car - and no, my Dad did not match what I had saved. I learned what it meant to earn something, and the value of working hard to have what you want.
I certainly learned that lesson. I also learned about responsibility, work ethic and what it means to have to take care of yourself.
Dad did good, huh? Confession: he still spoils me. The cost of a gift isn't the issue; if it's a gift, it's something I don't need, but might want, or something nicer than I'd normally buy myself.
I've been asked several times over the years if I feel "guilty" or "silly" for being a thirty-something who still gets the best gifts from her dad. My answer? Ask me again in twenty years, when I'm taking care of my dad - by myself.
Because I will still be an only child. And I was raised to do things right. I was taught by the best - and he did his job well.