Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Most Embarrassing Time of the Year

Do you ever feel like, when you set out to teach your children something important, your bad luck and their limited social skills conspire to embarrass the heck out of you? 

Last week I was out with the boys running a few errands when we decided to duck into HyVee to grab a few grocery items.  As we approached the entrance, Cael noticed the Salvation Army bell ringer and asked me what he was doing.  I tried to explain that there are many families that don't have as much as we do, and that the money people give goes to help those families all year, and at Christmastime specifically.

Photo credit here.
And then I thought there was no better lesson than to let them put some money in the bucket themselves, knowing that they not only love to take my money whenever possible, but that they also love to throw it away, whether in a mall fountain or in a video game at Godfather's Pizza.  So I fished around in my wallet, only to find that I had literally nothing in my coin purse, save for one earring and a plastic coin that goes with Graham's cash register toy.

"Oh, I guess I don't have anything now, guys.  We'll have to do it another time."

"Okay, Mom.  But what about the kids with no presents this year?"

The guilt trip wasn't needed. I felt guilty enough for having nothing to give and for missing a chance to teach my kids something valuable.

We headed inside to collect our groceries, and on the way out I swiped my debit card to pay for my green beans and french bread.  And it was when we were walking by the bell ringer that it happened.

Photo credit here.
Why did Cael feel the need to sell me out?  I don't know.  Maybe it was because I chose not to let the boys ride together in one of those themed truck-carts.  Possibly it was because I wouldn't buy any jicama simply because "it looks like a potato and a baseball had a baby".  Or more likely, Cael just saw an opportunity to embarrass me, and seized the moment like the social vulture he is.  So he turned to the bell ringer and literally shouted...


What could I say to that?  Not only was it true that I had no cash, but my face was as red as the ringer's bucket, so I grabbed their hands and tried to hustle to the car.  But Cael wasn't finished until the job was done.  Loudly.

"But Mom, how come you had money for groceries, but not for people who need it?"

Touché, Cael.  Aren't my kids oh-so lucky to have a mother who will teach them the important things in life, like ranking pistachio ice cream above making a difference? 

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.