GRATITUDE Is The Difference BETWEEN Appreciation And A Sense Of ENTITLEMENT…

For years now, my sister’s ability to sum up situations has made her infamous for her Redneck Granny Quotes used on Pawning Planners Apparel.I’ve met a few Bridezillas who believed that whatever they wanted regardless of the expense to their parents was okay. For those of us who didn’t have parents willing or in a position to “foot the bill,” the reality of not having a Dream Wedding was specifically my reason for starting Texas Twins Events to offer low cost services and Ceremonies to Clients “paying their own way on a tight budget.” 

Last Friday, I took a call from Yelp regarding advertising to attract more clients. I laughed. I don’t need to attract more clients. In fact, I’m overwhelmed with bookings. Why? Because our prices are less than half of that from our competition. 

Also, no one else barters event services. I set up Texas Twins Events years ago at prices that literally SHOCK our competition.  

While others wonder how we continue to expand and rebrand at discount rates, it should be noted that there is strength in numbers. I easily perform 10-15 TDCJ Prison Weddings a month. 

Photography packages, floral design bookings, Event Coordination and Religious Services and Ceremonies from Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners keep us busy. We don’t need to advertise and I don’t. 

Today’s blog title is based on not only my son and his wife but, also Cindy’s daughters, Leigh Ann and Stephaney as well as a few prospective clients who want it all but, don’t want to pay for it. Why? Because too much is never enough for some folks. 

Our adult children sometimes feel entitled to whatever Cindy and I along with our husbands have worked for or acquired. Why? I don’t know. 

“What did you spend on that? You’re buying another house? Shouldn’t you be investing money instead of spending it?”

Today’s millenial “adult child” expects to benefit handsomely from their parents or grandparents efforts of careful financial planning.

A few years ago, my son told me “when you die, all of this is mine because I’m your only child.” I was shocked at this but, responded “No, I’m married. Most of this is going to my husband. The rest to my sister, you, and my three grandnieces.” 

At about the same time and (I’m guessing it was because our adult children knew that I was dealing with a trust that I had set up in 1988 to benefit my siblings in the event of our mothers death) our three adult children were advised that only in the event of Cindy or I dying, would our adult children benefit from the trust. 

Our adult children wanted the trust money now. I’ve waited 33 years on the trust that I set up with my mothers mother all those years ago. Upon “hearing” about the trust, my daughter in law thought it was set up to benefit my only son and exclude myself? Are you kidding me? 

We live in a world of instant gratification expectations but…snapping your fingers and wanting something isn’t how inheritance works. 

When my father dies, Cindy and I will be left nothing. We already know this because my father has always favored our brother. I’m not sure why but, my father has no intentions of leaving anything of value to Cindy or I other than his Funeral Expenses. 

Our grandmother left everything to her son (our father) and her daughter (our aunt) rather than Cindy who selflessly took care of gramma to such an extent that she moved her into her home for seventeen years at no cost to our gramma. 

The thousands of dollars of jewelry that our gramma “borrowed” or demanded from Cindy or I was (of course) not returned to Cindy or I (from whom it came) but, instead pilfered through by our dad and aunt. 

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Cindy is too. All for everyone else and nothing for us which is exactly why I set up a trust pertaining to our mothers settlement. Experience is a great teacher in a world of relatives that coul double as vultures. 

It was while meeting with a Life Insurance Agent that Cindy overheard him ask if she was adding Cindy as the beneficiary since she lived with her? This was a Deal Breaker that rattled everyone who was going to benefit financially EXCEPT Cindy who had paid all of the bills for seventeen years and suddenly learned that gramma planned to “give her the shaft” all along by leaving her nothing including all of the jewelry she had bought for our gramma. Birthdays, Mothers Day, & Christmas always involved buying gramma more jewelry. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry that was WILLED to gramma’s daughter and son. They didn’t buy jewelry for their mother. Cindy and I did.

After the insurance agent left Cindy’s home. My “suck it up sister” finally had enough of being taken advantage of and, called our aunt and my father advising them that she was moving gramma out of HER HOUSE and into an apartment if neither of them would take her. Of course, her son and daughter didn’t want her which is how Cindy got “saddled” with gramma in the first place. “You are kicking out your own grandmother? What’s wrong with you? Where will she live? How will she pay her bills? Who will buy her groceries and drive her to the doctor?” Yep. Cindy did all of those things for nearly twenty years and at the end of all of her sacrifices, booted gramma right out of her home. 

We were (of course) expected to help pay for gramma’s funeral expenses AND clean her apartment after her son and daughter had cleaned out anything of value from the apartment. 

Gramma’s son and daughter could’ve moved her in with them and took car of their mother but, they chose to saddle my twin sister with the care of gramma instead. I wouldn’t even consider taking on the burden of a grandmother who never loved my sister or I and only cared about herself. 

If not for the trust I set up, when our mother passed on, none of her children would benefit financially. Thanks to our mom, all four of her children have faced “emotional bankruptcy” due to a mother who could care less about her four children. 

I changed the direction of our mother dying and saddling us with her Funeral Expenses and instead created a financial windfall for my siblings and I. 

The Sharon Hill Trust ensures that when our mother dies, there is a payout. No one else in my family would have covered their siblings but, I did. 

Greed is something that the “spoiled silly” people in our family thrive on. Since Cindy and I were outcast years ago as teens, we expected nothing from our families and, we weren’t dissapointed. 

After all, if Cindy and I had such a “great family” why were my sister and I homeless? The truth is that we didn’t have a great family. 

In fact, we both are the parents we never had. But, did we overindulge our children to such an extent by giving them everything we didn’t have that they expected too much from us? Maybe.

The “Sharon Hill Trust” only benefits the children of myself and my siblings if we die. I set it up that way. My reasons for setting up the trust were a payback for all four of my mothers children for not having a mother and more importantly, to ensure we benefitted from her death. God knows we have suffered enough with a heroin addicted mother and, her bad choices that directly impacted all four of her adult children. 

Our own adult children know nothing about sacrifice. Nothing. None of them know what poverty and homelessness are. None of them have ever been homeless or hungry. 

Cindy and I worked 2-3 jobs throughout their lives to provide everything as children that now our adult children needed. They’ve never went without. 

At fifteen years old, Cindy and I WERE HOMELESS. Cindy and I will never forget the adbject poverty of having nowhere to go and no one to help us. Cindy and I have lived in homeless shelters, our cars and even ate out of trash cans as teens because we had no choice. 

Cindy and I didn’t have a family or anyone else willing to help us- we only had each other. Our own children have ALWAYS had somewhere to go and, someone to help them. Who? Cindy and I.  When you have no one to turn to in times of trouble, you figure it out. Cindy and I did. 

Cindy’s daughters and my son were raised together and all three play either me or Cindy to get their way. We’ve began “cutting the cords” the past several years because it’s high time all three of them learn to support themselves and that nothing is free. You’ve got to work to live and eat. 

There aren’t any free rides or unrealistic expectations anymore. As adults, my nieces and my son are now learning that if you want something, you have to earn it. 

Today’s adult “child” expects their parents to give them whatever they want. A house. A car. A vacation. An inheritance. Whatever their parents EARNED is expected to be GIVEN to them. This is a problem folks. 

If your children are “counting your coins” and waiting for you to die, what have you taught them? 

Changing these expectations is enlightening. Trust me when I tell you that explaining to my son or nieces the horrors of our own childhoods versus their own perfect childhoods is “living in the past.” 

Our adult children wouldn’t know what going hungry or living without electricity was or how they would survive because they’ve never had to learn. The truth is that “our past defined our futures.” 

Cindy and I knew we had no one to help us. Based on this knowledge and our own hardships, we became workaholics. We had to. Without work and a paycheck, homelessness an poverty would take us back to where we had escaped. We are overachievers because we had to be. Poverty was like a barking dog chasing us. 

There wasn’t anyone to call when our car broke down or Cindy’s restaurant job dried up because the building burned down. 

My twin and I “figured it out” by sacrificing. If there wasn’t enough money to feed ourselves and our children, we fed our children. No “family” helping us feed or clothe our children or provide housing. When I say we were on our own, I mean it. 

My son and my nieces are well aware of the struggles Cindy and I faced solely because we didn’t have parents or family to help us. My son and my nieces are also aware that they’ve never “went without.” 

Last year, I gave my brother in law, Steve Daniel a Toyota Tundra truck. My son asked why I didn’t give it to his wife. My answer was based on the facts. “Steve and Cindy are raising their grandchildren without any child support. Steve is the primary earner in a Cindy’s home. Because Steve has to get to work and cannot afford to buy a vehicle due to his numerous financial responsibilities, and the fact that both you and your wife have vehicles, Steve needed the truck far more than anyone else.” 

The fact that my father had three vehicles and wasn’t willing to let Steve borrow one gives you more insight on selfishness. 

I had taken another vehicle in trade through The Pawning Planners three years earlier that Steve drove until it needed too much work after my niece, Stephaney used it while Steve was out of town and literally “ragged it out.” 

When you DON’T work and sacrifice to have nice things, you DON’T appreciate them. Ask me, I know. Loan something to someone that you sacrificed to buy and see how well they take care of it because they didn’t make any sacrifices to either have it or, use it.

If I buy a new SUV, my sons wife wants to know why I’m not “giving her” my old one? Or my niece, Stephaney is upset that I can afford another car when her car needs work. At my age, I’m highly concerned about our adult children and their feelings of entitlement. 

This “shocking revelation of real life” to my nieces, my son and my daughter in law is a work in progress. All three of our adult children “want a house, a new car and fabulous vacations.” 

Sadly, all three of our adult children will have to pay for these things themselves. You aren’t doing your children any favors by spoiling them. No one is. 

Teaching our adult children that everything we have worked and/or sacrificed for won’t be handed to them on a silver platter isn’t “something they are going to rejoice about.”

Educating “entitled adult children” that if they want something bad enough, they must sacrifice for it, I advised all three of them that “parenting is sacrifice not selfies.” Going without to make sure your children DON’T is SACRIFICE.

All three of our adult children are well over twenty eight years old and yet they continue to use terms like “I’m your kid.” 

After eighteen, no one is a kid anymore. Cindy’s daughters and my son use this “I’m your kid stuff” whenever they feel entitled to something.

My son and his wife are leaving Fort Worth Friday to travel to a wedding in Arkansas Saturday. This isn’t unusual. What is unusual is that I’m paying their hotel expenses. 

Generally, travel expenses are covered by the Client. Since my son was a bit jealous regarding our trip to California in October with my twin grandnieces, I offered to cover the hotel for Robert and Stephanie. 

I will explain why our vacation plans are often twisted into being about our adult children rather than us to give you more information on my latest “guilt trip.” 

Cindy and I are always being guilted into things by our adult children. So much so in fact that one of Cindy’s Quotes is actually based on guilt trips. “Not MY LUGGAGE and it Ain’t MY TRIP.”

My son was at Cindy’s house and “heard” our hotel plans for California. “I’m never invited on your trips to California and, I’m upset about it as is my wife.” 

Well, my son and his wife travel quite frequently for bookings and certainly “don’t invite” Cindy or I on these excursions. 

While my son was in his teens, he actually told me once “I’m sick of Hawaiia we go there every year and I’m tired of it.” 

I was actually working in Hawaiia with my ex husband and not exactly on vacation. But, the limousines to the airport and summers spent at our lake home with trips to Hawaiia “bored my son?” His cousins were green with envy over these fabulous trips.

My son has been all over the world. So much so in fact that his cousins, Leigh Ann and Stephaney are jealous of his excursions. My son is jealous that Leigh Ann has been to Japan and Tokyo. 

Stephaney is jealous that she hasn’t been to anywhere near the places that Leigh Ann and Robert have been. The truth is that Stephaney was often “off with her friends and bad choices” when I was traveling to our lake house or other destinations. 

My niece, Stephaney rarely joined her mother or I on trips because when she did, arguments ensued. Stephaney is a lot of work. Stephaney and her sister, Leigh Ann have never gotten along well. 

I’ve been traveling my entire life and, rarely have these trips NOT been “work related.”

My ability to transform a work trip into a mini vacation stems from years of experience. For my fellow travelers who weren’t working on these trips, it was a vacation. Bored with Hawaiia? My son was perhaps a bit spoiled.

If my son and nieces don’t understand why parents don’t take their adult children on holidays, they should. Parents don’t have to take their adult children on trips and subsequently, cover all the expenses.  

Gratitude IS appreciation. But, what if your adult children “feel entitled?” A few years ago, I booked my twin and I into the bungalow at The Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Although it was (as usual) another working trip, I love this hotel and more importantly, I could afford the expense! My son and my nieces were effectively, triggered about my choice of hotel and a barrage of “I don’t get to stay in luxury resort hotels” text messages ensued. 

Why do adult children believe that they deserve the benefits of their parents income? I don’t understand it.

I booked a hotel for Robert and Stephanie yesterday in Arkansas. I also sent them a text that a free breakfast was included. Rather than a thank you, my son decided to enlighten me on awful continental breakfasts he had endured at hotels offering a free breakfast. 

Now, I was triggered! I advised my son that if they didn’t like the option of a free breakfast that he and his wife could certainly go out and buy their own breakfast.

My youngest grandniece, Madyson is often used on Cindy’s Quotes because she is so animated. The looks on Maddies face often perfectly fit the Quote. 

Madyson is also a model on Instagram who has the same unruly mop of hair her mother did as a child. Leigh Ann now straightens her hair.When Robert and Stephanie are booked as a Photography Team or it’s an Officiant/Photography Package, Destination Event fees are recovered from the Client. 

Leigh Ann also covers her own expenses from revenue generated by Clients. If Leigh Ann is traveling with Cindy and I, she’s also expected to cover her own expenses including airfare, food and entertainment. 

The hotels and rental cars are covered by Cindy and I meaning– it’s a roll away bed and the backseat. If you don’t like 70’s music and cigarette smoke, you can go rent your own car or hotel. 

When Cindy and I are booked, our expenses are covered by our Clients. Travel expenses don’t include bringing my entire family on location unless of course, they’ve been hired in some capacity.

Explaining these simple truths to my family isn’t an easy conversation. Our adult children think we have a money tree in the yard and, we don’t. 

All expenses for Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Prison Weddings are covered solely by me. 

I pay the websites, I pay a website manager, I pay any advertising and I am the one holding the bag. No one in my family considers the expenses involved to run these businesses. They have no idea what web development or Trademarks, Copyrights and other expenses are because they’ve never paid for these business related expenses. I have. I assume all the risks and if I’m booked at an Event, I pay any staff also hired on site.

All of my Social Media accounts are handled by me. I don’t pay anyone to handle my accounts. I spend a large amount of time promoting others who in turn, promote me. 

Many of my bookings are referrals from previous clients. I earned their business, exceeded their expectations and in turn, earned referral clients. 

Our adult children are jealous of the large numbers of connections on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, FB, Google Plus, Pinterest and other outlets. 

What they fail to realize is that years of work went into our following. Today’s millenials think everything comes for free. It doesn’t. 

Social Media is “Tit For Tat.” If you want others to promote YOU, try promoting THEM. Dissapointed because no one is liking, sharing or retweeting you? Try doing the same for others that you expect them to do for you. Figure it out. 

Cindy and I spend hours on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and FB. HOURS promoting our connections. We EARNED our following. 

Explaining this to our adult children who are “too busy for social media” explains why their numbers are dramatically different from either Cindy or I. 

Having to explain to my son and my nieces why they aren’t invited “everywhere Cindy and I go” isn’t ever going to be easy but, after eighteen years old, if adult children want a vacation, they can certainly pay for it or go to work and earn a vacation like the rest of us. 

Teaching our adult children that we don’t owe them a car, a vacation, a house or anything else is an eye opener for them but, we are actually doing them a favor. One day we won’t be here to help them and they will be forced to rely on themselves…