My kids don't really want for anything.
We don't have great wealth, but they most certainly don't go without a thing. They are well fed, well clothed, and they are surrounded by toys and gadgets galore....much more than I ever had as a kid.
But we live in a 'throw-away-and-replace' society, so the kids tend to have this notion that anything can be replaced, at the drop of a hat.
During my marriage, this was certainly true, so I guess the kids learned certain behaviours from a very early age. If something got broken, their father would immediately replace it. If they lost something, it was also replaced. Easy come, easy go.
A DVD player, here, a computer there....it was all just 'disposable' and therefore (to the kids) valueless.
Since becoming a single mum, I find I'm trying to introduce certain values which had not been imposed in the past. They work for their pocket money, they do chores around the house, and I try my best to get them to respect their belongings and be grateful they have so much (although this part is still inordinately challenging!)
The older two understand that money is something which has to be earned, and that it cannot be taken from other people willy nilly. I've taught them that to take something and then not pay for it, is theft. And I've taught them that theft is a crime. It is wrong.
Sometimes things get lost or broken through no fault of the kids though. So I've been quick to reassure them, that in cases where nobody is to blame, if we work hard enough, we can replace the missing important items over time.
But kids have such impressionable minds, and they cannot always distinguish between the physical and the emotional.
So it stands to reason, in their minds, that if Mummy can work at replacing things they lost 'accidentally', then Mummy can also provide them with something else they 'lost'....a Daddy.
Now, this is where it gets tricky. I can do many things, but I cannot provide them with this one important 'item'.
'But Mummy, you like so-and-so, don't you? He's a man.'
'Yes, sweetheart, he is, and I like him, this is true.'
'So why can't you just marry him then, and he can be our Daddy?'
'Because it doesn't work like that I'm afraid. It needs to be special love for that to work.'
'But why not Mummy?'
'It's complicated sweetheart, it's just not possible at the moment.'
And these are the questions I'm fielding all the time these days. They don't care WHO he is, they just want SOMEBODY.
I guess this is one of the toughest aspects of being a single parent. You can provide your child with all the love and attention in the world, but when one parent withdraws completely, it's not easy to explain why, and it's impossible to just 'replace' this person with a similar model!
Instead, you try to fill the gap as best you can, and hope that one day, as they mature, they'll understand the whys and wherefores.
I believe mine will, over time. They will hopefully grow to understand that sometimes bad things happen for good reasons, and that some things are just impossible to replace. Indeed, sometimes it's just better not to even try.
There are things we can live without, and some things we just can't.
The last two years have shown us what we can live without.
What we can't live without, exists in abundance in this house anyway......and that can never be stolen, lost or broken.