I’ve loved mangoes ever since I can remember. For me they are by far the tastiest fruit out there. Love probably isn’t the right word, but it’s the best I can do. I remember when I was young boy, my dad would cut up fruit for us to eat on Sunday mornings, and it was a real treat when mangoes would be in season. He would spend a lot of time cutting, and end up eating little. Very often I would eat an entire big mango in a sitting, and as the last piece was given to me I would express some faux-guilt about eating it all and my dad would look at me and say “don’t worry son, I’ve eaten so many mangoes in my life that you could never catch up to me anyway” and happily give me the last piece. He did grow up in India and I am sure he did have a lot of mangoes. Maybe to him it was like an apple. But I don’t know, if I had mangoes as readily available as apples I don’t think I would crave them any less. As I got into my teens, still every bit a mango fiend, and thought about someday sharing mangoes with my child I questioned my ability to be so generous. I mean sure I’d share, but give all of it to him? That’s not possible.
So here I am a parent and mangoes are in season and my son just loves them. And I am happy to say I know exactly how my dad must have felt. It makes me so happy to see that joy of being able to taste sweet, juicy, and wonderful fruit. I cut away, and feed him as many slices as he wants. I feel grateful that I am able to give him his heart’s desire in the form of fruit (knowing that such fruit would be a luxury for many families) and I even think to myself how many mangoes I’ve had in my life, and maybe it’s not as many as my dad, but I’m happy to let my son try and catch up. His joy is so much better than a mango.
It’s easy to get caught up in giving our kid the things we didn’t have when we were children, but thus far it seems a far more spiritually fulfilling experience to share with my son the things I did have that brought me joy, because I know what it feels like, and I can connect with him in a way that I couldn’t by simply giving him something I didn’t have. And if we feel positive about the people we are now, maybe those things you missed out on aren’t quite as important in the end.