I can blame a great portion of this internal ‘stirring’ on my daughter.
She’s three and won’t know for years. I’m ok with that.
A few weeks ago, the Holy Spirit, Abigail and I were in Wal-mart. One may assume the Holy Spirit doesn’t chill out much at Wal-mart, but one would be dead wrong. Those are His peeps. The poor, the meek, the lowly – those were Jesus’ homies. Don’t believe me? Pick a gospel. Read it. then, I’ll say I told ya so. In Jesus’ Name.
He cared for poor, widowed, abandoned…but three year olds? I’m not sure. I know Jesus insisted to ‘bring the children unto Him’, but I doubt He actually meant bring three-year-olds unto Him. I think he would have passed the three-year-olds unto the disciples. Especially mine.
The fool that coined the phrase ‘terrible twos’ clearly did not have a three-year-old yet. It was probably the same man person who came up with ‘morning sickness’, ‘slight menstrual mood swings’ and ‘post-partum blues’. Try ‘all-friggin’day sickness’, ‘menstrual speed-downhill-skiing mood shifts’ and ‘post-partum psychotic mayhem’.
But, I digress. And there ain’t no room for a digress in a bloglet.
Sister friend and I were at Wal-mart getting groceries together. I used to equate this to getting slowly pecked to death by baby chickens. Then I spent the besttwodollarsI’veeverspentEVER. Let me be clear that we never, I repeat hardly ever, reward our kids for good behavior in a store. There’s never dollar bin trips or candy rewards for not throwing a fit. My man and I personally do not believe in rewarding our kids for behavior that is to be expected anyway. We have occasionally given a treat for above normal excellent behavior, or a huge servant’s heart toward someone. But even then we talkin’ ‘bout a Hershey bar split three ways, not a $20 toy each.
But, this time, I caved in sheer anticipation of a not-napping-anymore-two-year-old + a sleep deprived pre-menstrual Mama + a looooong grocery list + coupons and price-matching on a Saturday morning (I know, we were that desperate) and how it would vomit chaos and hysteria on poor unsuspecting Wal-mart. Guaranteed. So, I bought sister-friend a princess magic wand. Save the ‘real Christians don’t teach magic’ emails please. Or I will send her to Wal-mart with you. No magic wand. Just a Bible. K?
She love-love-love-loves to ‘change’ the food on the aisles into what we want them to be. I pick up some yogurt, and she says “No, Mama, that’s not yoguht yet.” She presses her Disney Princess just let it go button and squeals “I change you into manilla yoguht!”
It’s joyful to watch.
It’s allows me to leave Wal-mart with the same child I entered it with. And she’s breathing.
That, my friend is a win-win.
But, on that same day my Mama-genius was in full swing with the ‘change it into’ suggestion, my precious rascal-girl said something so profound and disturbing, I haven’t been able to shake it since. And then I go and start reading Jen Hatmaker’s books. Lord, help me.
After gleefully hugging her magic wand ever-so-tightly – she couldn’t actually change anything into anything for five solid minutes – it was time to leave the toy section. Insert me singing alto part of Hallelujah chorus.
Then it happened.
Did Abigail fuss and whine at the next fifteen aisles (with approximately 3,214 toys on each aisle) we passed insisting “Mama, I want thaaaaat!!”
Well, yes and no.
Oh, she fussed and she whined. Which ticked me off really because I hadn’t even yelled yet. And I’d brilliantly – with the creativity and patience of a Mom with one kid – come up with the ‘change our groceries into’ game. Dangit, Abigail I was gonna blog about this great Mama moment, don’t fuss now!
But it was her words that rocked me.
She didn’t say “I want thaaaaat!”
Instead – “Maaamaaa…I don’t have thaaaat!”
I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at her.
She didn’t look like Satan. Weird.
Did she just say what I thought she said?
“Abigail, Wal-mart has fifteen freaking rows of toys, baby girl, of course you don’t have that! You can’t have all of it.”
A piece of my soul died that day.
Dear friend, if you are raising children even as we speak, then your kiddos are growing up in what ‘they’ are calling Generation E.
What’s the E for?
That absolutely couldn’t be more true.
Nobody had to teach three-year-olds thirty years ago to say “I want thaaat!!” Just ask my Mom, she’ll vouch. But that was thirty years ago. Now, nobody has to teach my three-year-old that not only is she entitled to that but heck, she should have all of that. All fifteen freaking rows.
Despite the emotional gag reflex that ensues, I have replayed that phrase over and over in my mind. The subtle difference in wording shows the grave difference in the heart attitude of a kid in 2012 and a kid in 1982.
But, worst of all, it’s normal.
This came from a kid who really doesn’t get much of what she wants. Mainly cause we’re broke (or so we think!) but also because Ryan and I are desperately and with full-force trying to fight this culture beast.
Fight with me?
I have a two book Jen Hatmaker+God-rocked-my-world-apart-project I will be blogging about over the next few months. Join me.
First, we are reading Interrupted. But if you want to go ahead and save on shipping, we will read 7 next. I ain’t psychic but I know our worlds are gonna be rocked. I’ll even bet you money. I’ve got fifty cent. Cash. Not that rapper.
Maybe we will be able to fight this generation E beast.
Maybe we can raise humble kids (and selves!) whose entire self-worth isn’t wrapped up in stuff or the acquisition of more of it.
And sweet friend, maybe, just maybe, we can look, act, talk and LIVE a little bit more like Jesus.
Oh, how I hope so.