The Grass Is Always Greener

In the case of my son, the joy of the known commodity was exceeded by the appeal of the unknown between the ages of three and four years of age.

When he turned three years old, it was fun to watch him experience genuine pleasure while opening each of his gifts. His prioritization was endearing: he wanted to open a gift, then play with it for a few minutes (or hours, depending on how much he liked it) before opening his next gift. He needed to be redirected to his stack of unopened gifts after he opened every package.

This year, as he turned four, things were different. We still enjoyed watching him open his gifts, but he opened them in record time. He opened what would be his favorite toys first, but he did not yet know that to be true. Instead, there was always the chance that there was something better in the next bag, something more fun to play with in the next box. When he was done opening all of his gifts, he returned to the contents of the first package and has been playing with those toys exclusively for 36 hours, since.

His behaviors opened my eyes to something. What that is, I do not yet know. Perhaps it made me realize how quickly he is growing up, or it saddened me to see greed in him for the first time. Or, maybe, it revealed something more disappointing that I hadn’t yet seen in myself.

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