Last week one of the parents of a child I teach had a bit of a tantrum after school one day*. It seems her daughter missed out on having an iceblock with the rest of the class because she had been away the previous day.
In her seething mother-rage, she shouted at me "It's not FAIR that Cathy misses out on an iceblock. The rest of the class had one and she DESERVES one too".
I was a bit gobsmacked.
I stood there wanting to say to this deranged woman that it was an ICEBLOCK that cost (me) 50cents. She missed out because she was away that particular day and she'd just have to build a bridge and get over it: sometimes you miss out on things in life.
Instead I apologised and organised another iceblock for that child. The mother then said "you can't imagine what its like! She has a food intolerance and misses out on so many things already".
...and that was when I wanted to shout at her.
I wanted to shout that my kids miss out on things every day! That she (happily married mother of two) could not imagine her kids doing without a father. Doing without any male influence in their lives. Doing without two incomes and family holidays. Doing without a second parent who could take some of the slack and give them some of that much-needed one-on-one time that I am always falling behind with.
Doing without ..... yeah - we know what it feels like. (Clarifier - In a very First-World Problem way .... in the wider scheme of things, we do OK on quality of life front with all the fresh food, clean running water and all).
I have never ONCE pulled the "not fair" card when it comes to my own children (one of them ironically, has mild food intolerances) . I have never done the ranty-mama-bear thing about them missing out on something because their father is dead.
I might have thought it, but I have never said it.
Because I know that they also have so much love.
So next time I am faced with a parent trying to make every part of their child's life perfect, I will stick to my guns and point out that NOBODY has a 'perfect life'. Somewhere along the line, everybody has to learn to do without something.
... even if it is only an iceblock.
It might just build their resilience in case they ever have to cope with a REAL life challenge (like losing a parent).
* details changed slightly as I can't share the actual incident. You get the idea though.....