This week, we went into town to run errands. We had to stop at the Dollar Store to get some "White Elephant/Dirty Santa" gifts for our children/youth Christmas party. And of course, the minute we walked in Hudson starts pointing and excitedly saying, "bababa boon" over and over again.
I was determined that he was not going to get a balloon.
He was gifted one at Old Navy back in October when we went to get flip flops for our Operation Christmas Child shoebox that is still inflated plus he swindled me in a weak moment into a Halloween balloon at Walgreens just to get him to quit screaming. Therefore, he was not going to get a balloon.
My determination that he was not going to get a balloon was solidified when he wiggled out of my grip and ran to the balloon section. How is he so Houdini-like at only 18 months?
As I'm dragging him away, in tears, can you guess what the sweet Dollar Store clerk does? Yep, you know it. She hands him a balloon. It is a "Happy Thanksgiving" balloon - she says he can have it at no charge, it's out of season and will just be thrown away soon. No, I do not want him to have a balloon. He does not need a balloon. He definitely does not deserve a balloon. Everything in me wanted to firmly say, "no!" but she had already handed it to him so what was I do to? I gave in, deflated.
All the way home every time I saw that silly balloon in the rear-view mirror I was angry. Angry at Hudson's obsession. Angry at Hudson's disobedience. Angry that the Dollar Store clerk intervened in my parenting. Angry that I had given in so quickly.
Later that night, while praying and thinking about it - the Lord revealed something to me. That balloon was grace to Hudson. Does he need it? No. Does he deserve it? No. But that's the definition of grace - receiving what we do not deserve. Hello conviction of my bad attitude.
Does my son need to get over his obsession with balloons? Of course. Does he need to obey? Absolutely. But does it hurt him that the clerk was kind to him, even in his disobedience? No - in fact, if he were older it would be a lovely teachable moment about God's grace to us.
Parenting is so humbling.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.