Her shrill scream was ear-piercing as we drove away from her grandparents’ house. Her defiant “NO!” shouted loudly in our present laden, packed full car. “Hand it to mommy” I firmly stated. “Obey your mother” reinforced her papa. Her little fist still clutched tightly around her treasure.
“ONE” I said, in that way that only a parent who means business can. The object dropped into my hand.
It was purple and pink and sparkly and had Elsa and Anna pictured on it. It was an adorable new watch my baby girl had received a couple of days ago as a Christmas gift from her grandparents. It was absolutely perfect for her and she adored it the moment she laid eyes on it the way I knew she would when I added it to her wish list.
“You had plenty of warnings. You knew this was going to happen. Maybe next time you will choose to be grateful instead and appreciate when someone gives you a gift”.
Still, the tears slipped down her cheeks and I fought back my own as well. I really hadn’t wanted it to come to this. I knew how much she loved it. I so badly wanted her to be able to keep it. But I knew that the lesson being learned was bigger and far more important than any of that.
After an incident at another family members house the day before where she too loudly and much too rudely stated “I don’t care for this” as she dropped her gift on the floor and enviously eyed a gift her cousin sitting next to her had been given, I tried to be more proactive for our next round of holiday gift giving.
I coached her ahead of time on how to properly respond after opening a present, whether she cared for it or not. And don’t misunderstand, it’s not like this was new material I was teaching.
She typically is an appreciative, thoughtful, polite little lady. But for some unknown reason, she dug her heels in on this one. Despite friendly reminders and gentle encouragements over the previous two and a half days, she just would not tell her grandparents thank you for her Christmas gifts.
And so, we ended up in this moment. This tense, tear-streaked, not-at-all-how-I-want-to-end-our-Christmas-visit moment. But like I said before, the lesson being learned was bigger and more important than any of that.
Fifteen minutes later, my girl was back to her laughing, silly self. Apparently, it wasn’t so earth shattering after all. I felt good that I had stood my ground and followed through with the deserved consequences.
Mamas, I want to encourage you to not be afraid to stand your ground either. Don’t make threats you are willing to follow through on.
We love our babies and we want to give them the world, especially this time of year. But let’s make sure we’re giving them the RIGHT things. Let’s give them hearts that are grateful and minds that think about other people.
Indeed there is discipline for those who are loved. But, thankfully, there is also grace. Maybe next week my sweet girl can earn her gift back by writing some thank-you notes!
Take the time every day to be grateful, thankful for everything that you have. You can always have more, but you could also have less. ~Mohammad Uved
PS- Here’s a phenomenal book I read recently that has helped me remind myself (and my family) of what everyday gratitude looks like:
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