Give A Little Bit


     Every year at the holidays, we’ve tried to make it a tradition to help a family in need by providing some of the items on their wishlist. I especially think it’s important to introduce this concept to my own kids, because I want them to know how incredibly lucky they are to have all the things that they do.  So, this year, we are participating in a program through their elementary school.  We were assigned a family that has a ten year old little boy named Nicholas,  and because I really wanted my kids to be involved in every step of this process, I had them go with me to help pick out the gifts yesterday.  I thought it would be a such a meaningful holiday memory for all of us.  Little did I know, though, that I’d be throwing out the Santa card and threatening time outs on this “fun-filled” family excursion.

     Since the gift recipient had only listed clothes on his wishlist, the kids and I headed over to The Children’s Place at the mall.  (I was actually kind of glad that the boy didn’t list any toys because I knew my kids would be asking me for anything and everything if we went to a toystore.  They could generally care less about clothes, so I was sure it would be nothing short of a pleasant shopping trip.  Heh!) I planned to buy two outfits and told them they could help pick them out.  Naturally, they immediately started arguing about which color of pants to buy.  They were pushing and shoving and damn near knocking over an entire display of track pants, so I jumped in with my referee whistle and said that my daughter could pick out one of the outfits and my son could pick out the other.  My daughter was finally about to make her selection on a color, when my son suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs for everyone within a five-mile radius to hear that he needed to pee.  

     I asked if he could wait, but judging from the crossed legs, hand on the crotch and the jumping up and down, I realized that this was clearly not an option.  And because the store didn’t have a restroom, I had to drag my crew all the way down to Starbuck’s.  We conducted our business as quickly as possible and were making our way back to the store when what to our wandering eyes should appear but Santa strolling down the mall and confusing the living hell out of my kids. Honestly, why must that man show up so damn early?  How does he expect me to explain to my kids why he’s all the way down here when he’s supposed to be working his ass off back at the North Pole?  He smiled and waved to my bewildered kids and then disappeared into the Picture People, which just so happened to be right next door to The Children’s Place.  

     So, after giving a half-ass explanation about Santa having assistants for little things like mall visits, I rushed my kids back into The Children’s Place to try and distract them and to avoid having to answer any more difficult questions.  We were finally back to the task at hand, and my daughter quickly picked out a presentable outfit for Nicholas.  My son, on the other hand, decided to go in a completely different fashion direction.  He became fixated on what I’m quite sure was the ugliest sweater to have ever been manufactured.  He was insistent that we buy this fugly-looking thing, and when I refused, he bust into an all-out fit.  I tried to remain calm and show him other selections that weren’t quite as damaging to the eyes, but nothing would do.  He was infatuated with that pitiful waste of yarn. When the whining grew to an even higher pitch, I dug deep into my back pocket and whipped out the old Santa card.  It definitely worked to my advantage that the fat man was conveniently chilling out right next door to us.  After careful consideration of the idea that the red-suited wonder could see and hear everything, my son eventually conceded, and we agreed on a much more appealing red and black fleece.

     We were finally ready to check out, but unfortunately, the line was ridiculously long, giving my children a chance to peruse the store. And even though they typically aren’t the least bit interested in any type of clothing whatsoever, they suddenly decided look around and find things that they just HAD to have.  I gently reminded them that this shopping expedition was for Nicholas, NOT for them; however, my daughter was attached to a pink robe and my son to a pair of blue slippers that they claimed they’d just die if they didn’t have.  I was absolutely appalled at all the moaning and groaning that was spewing out of my selfish little offspring, especially with the bearded dude right next door.  I was resorting to time out threats, when finally it was our turn to check out.  On the ride home, we had a nice long chat about the importance of giving, and even though I’m not sure how much of it their six year old little minds actually comprehended, I hope that at least a portion of it stuck.

     So, yeah, maybe my precious holiday memory wasn’t quite all that I thought it would be.  Leave it to kids to take a big old dump on a good intention.  Regardless of how frustrating it may have been, though, I’m still glad that I included them in the process.  After all, ’tis the season for giving, even if all I was “given” was a big, fat headache and a pain in the ass.


8 Responses

  1. This is great! Fun read! And yeah, what an expedition! I’m exhausted just reading it! At least you’ve got a good sense of humor and can see the silver lining! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for reading my “Give A Little Bit” post! Trust me, if I can’t find humor in the chaos of my life, then I’ll be eating turkey in the looney bin! 🙂

  2. It didn’t go smoothly this time, but each year will help it sink in more and become easier. We always clear out their gently used toys and clothing around this time of year and donate it to a charity that helps needy kids. We also try to grab a couple tags off the giving tree at which ever store we’re at to donate.

    But, can I just say, I’m not buying some needy kids a nintedo or computer(my kids don’t get one either) when did ‘needy’ change from clothing and a doll to electronics and cell phones?!

    • I am right w/you on buying the unnecessary items on those wishlists. It’s yet another statement about the greed that’s taken over our world.

  3. Loved this! Teaching them thankfulness and giving and all those things are tough! I just wrote about this & a conversation I had with my 3yo about being thankful. All we can do is hope that they will eventually get it, right?

    I’m right there with Jessica… the things these kids ask for are flippin crazy!

    • Yes, so true — you can teach them all these things till you’re blue in the face, but you won’t know if they’re actually sinking in till later on down the road. I’m keeping my fingers crossed in the meantime…. 🙂

  4. Too funny!! You’re a good mom. Now that I have a son I no longer wonder what’s wrong with a parent whose yelling at their kid. It’s more like, what did that kid do to that poor woman?

    • Exactly! It’s so much easier to sympathize with a parent whose kid is out of control when you’ve been there, done that yourself.

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