Posted by: molly | February 4, 2013

Giving Good Gifts

When I was a child I wanted a pair of jelly shoes.  I really, really, really, really wanted a pair of jelly shoes.  These plastic monstrosities were the epitome of “cool” in my 9-year-old mind.  And they were glittery.  And plastic-ey.  And awesome in every way possible.  However, my mom was of a more realistic persuasion that they were in fact not the answer to every dilemma in my childhood.  She may have had other reasons but I remember her telling me that I couldn’t have jelly shoes since they were clear and I would sunburn my feet in them.  Flaming hot feet was a price I was willing to pay for the awesomeness of these shoes but, alas, this childhood dream would never come true (it is ok mom, I forgive you).

And then I had a daughter.  And I found a pair of sparkly purple jelly shoes.  Excitedly I bought them for her.   They were the fantasy of my childhood and I wanted my daughter to enjoy the shoes I coveted as a little girl.  And she hated them.  With a passion.  She threw a tantrum at the suggestion of wearing them and eventually broke the buckles off of them in an unrelated fit of rage.

Those shoes made me very sad.  They were a gesture of love to my daughter that she not only did not appreciate, but that she disdained!  My heart was so wrapped up in the gift that it got in the way of what I truly wanted:  to show love for my daughter.  It has taken a long time and quite a bit of hurt feelings but I am slowly starting to learn way to show love to my daughter who quite honestly likes different things than me.  I find myself so wrapped up in giving people what I want them to want instead of giving them what they actually want that   even my giving can be selfish!

A few weeks ago I wanted to do something fun with my kids.  It was Christmas break and I had dragged them all over creation running errands and I wanted to do something to show them that I appreciated them behaving and not making errand running a nightmare that day.  My first thought was ice cream.  I LOVE ice cream and so should everyone else.  Bruster’s ice cream is the epitome of a magical place because they have all sorts of ice cream (including peanut butter) and that was where I wanted to go to reward my children.  But I wasn’t really thinking of them.  It was cold (and there was no way on this earth that my kids were going to eat ice cream cones in my car!), they were tired, and honestly, I don’t think they are the biggest fans of Bruster’s.  So we went to Chick-fil-A instead.  Limiting them to a treat of some sort (not a mid-afternoon meal), my son dutifully ordered a milkshake while my daughter opted for a Sprite.  Seriously child?  A Sprite?  Making sure she understood it was just a Sprite she insisted that was what she wanted.  So that is what I got her.  And my kids rode home happily sipping their chosen treats.

Was my heart not for the good of my daughter when I bought her jelly shoes?  It was for her good until I insisted that she want what I want.  My own selfishness prevented me from loving her by giving her what she desired instead of my desires for her.  I am a long way from arrived, but that day at Chick-fil-A was a small victory in learning to love my Sprite loving daughter instead of making her a milkshake lover like me.

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Responses

  1. I too was in love with Jelly shoes. I remember buying my own daughter a pair as well, because of my love for them. She liked them, though she wasn’t overly estatic like I was. However, the blisters she got on her feet ended my obsession and I decided I will stick with buying her comeback toys like My Little Pony, Rainbow Bright, Cabbage Patch Kids and Strawberry Shortcake!

  2. Love it. Something important for all of us to learn. Thanks for sharing your heart.


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