Friday night I made the rare trip to the store with little kids in tow. Zion had received a gift card for his birthday and so I wanted to let him pick out a toy. From the get-go it was explained to Emari that this was brother's "special" money from his birthday so she would not be picking anything out. That went over well as you can imagine. We scoured the toy aisles at Target, made some suggestions for Christmas lists and purchased Zion's choice.

Having to stop by Barnes and Noble to pick up the big sisters, we were met with another opportunity to purchase Emari some goodies. Of course, she explained why she should get something special, since we were no longer at the place where Zion got his present and so on and so forth. I was adamant in my defense that she would not be receiving a treat tonight. As a parent, I always want to be giving my children things. The rub is that I know that my job is not to give them everything they want, or even everything that I want to give them. My job here is to prepare them to be good people who love God and serve Him and others. Now good people who love God don't get everything they want when they want it and more often than not have to watch other people receive things while they do not. We each have our turn getting the good stuff, but somehow we don't recall that when we're watching it being doled out to others.

That said, I felt strong and right in my stance to keep a vigilant eye on my daughter to ward off any hints that she may be envious of her brother's good fortune. The next morning we went out for doughnuts and again the rare occasion to go into the doughnut shop and pick out our own treats presented itself complete with chocolate milk. Then on to the church Holiday Bazaar with all you can jump bouncy house, face painting, candy, hot dogs, sodas, and cousins, cousins, cousins galore. A child's dreamland right?

I thought so and Emari agreed. As we got into the car to take her sisters to a game, she said, "Mom, this is the best day ever!"

Yes, score one for Mom.

However, on the way back to the church and the endless fun, Emari said, "Now I think when we get back you need to give me three dollars cuz I want to buy something and get a snowcone." My reply of course was to mention that today had been full of treats and sugar and that she herself had said that it was the best day ever. Then she rebutted with a gentle reminder that she didn't get any treats yesterday and that she was having a great day, but she just wanted more....

I promise you sometimes I feel like this parenting thing is a cosmic battle of that old card game, War. I lay something down, she lays something down. Sometimes my card outranks and I take the round, sometimes she does. Here we were at a stand still. I stood my ground and reminded her: 1) Yesterday was brother's birthday money and I did not "owe" her a present, she had to wait for her birthday to roll around, 2) She had two hand-picked "sugar laden" doughnuts and chocolate milk for breakfast (something that never happens) 3) She had spent the entire day playing with cousins, eating treats and generally doing whatever she wanted to.

Score Mom.

We returned to the church to help wind things down. Emari came to me with a bouquet of white and purple star balloons that one of the vendors just gave to her for FREE! (Emari's emphasis added)

Score Emari.

Then her auntie gave her one of the fairy wands she had been eyeing all day.

Score Emari.

Finally, momma won a raffle, not either of the raffles that mommy really wanted i.e. the Scentsy owl tart warmer or the burlap Christmas stocking, oh no. Mommy won the basket with the tutu and matching headband.

Score Emari.

I sat back and thought, I just got trumped by the Most High! Here I was doing my mommy duty of teaching my daughter about fairness and taking turns and rejoicing with others and He went and put me to shame.

Score Mom and Emari.


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