No trips. No treats. Forget the car when they are old enough. Forget even trying to “give them the things you never had as a kid.”
What if, instead of trying to do something special, you were just nice? What if you were just patient? What if you were present? What if, when they were struggling, when they were afraid, you actually saw them and helped? What if you rooted for them? If you loved them no matter what?
You’re smart enough to know which of these things would matter most, which of these things they actually want. Yet, here you are, stressed out trying to plan another vacation. Here you are working extra hours at the office, away from home, “to support your family.” But when your daughter came to you asking for support? Then you were too busy. When your son was feeling unseen, you weren’t there to see him. You were home…you were just on your phone.
We’ve talked a bunch about quality time vs garbage time. Perhaps it’s this “special” distinction that must be done away with entirely. Your kids don’t need any of that. They don’t need hardly anything but you. An engaged you. A thoughtful you. A present and patient you.
And they want it now. Not later.