Normally, I don't do malls.
And I especially don't do them during the holiday season.
This morning, however, broke me. In an act of sheer desperation,
I pulled my husband's long sleeved, slate gray Express shirt out of
his drawer, over my head and walked out of the house assuring
myself that if I stretched it out I could always ask forgiveness
because I'd already blown right past asking for permission to wear
See, nothing fits this post-pregnant body. It just won't budge
no matter what and I've been reluctant to budge on buying new
clothes because …
1. I dislike shopping alone and having to make decisions and
2. I dislike spending money while shopping alone and having to
make decisions and
3. I dislike spending money while shopping alone and having to
make decisions and purchasing bigger clothes than what I'd
So, also in an act of sheer desperation after feeling badly
about stretching out the hub's shirt, I went to the mall with my
4-year-old son during the peak of the busy season of shopping,
consumerism and consumption.
I promise you I'm not actually cynical - it's just that the
Christmas and holiday season is such a whiplash for a heart that
really loves the gratitude and beauty that surrounds Thanksgiving.
It's not that the very essence of Christmas isn't overflowing with
love and grace and breathtaking beauty, it's just that such a
spirit isn't usually found at stores, malls and places where busy,
rushed people go to find all of the gifts on a list they perhaps
didn't want to write. And it's left me in a little bit of a
So I'm walking through the mall with my little guy in tow,
trying to keep us out of the main path so we don't get run over.
Other shoppers are doing some serious power walking.
I'm a little tired. I'm a little hurried. I'm a little "hangry"
(hungry and angry combine to make the best shopping experience for
a non-shopper ever, by the way).
But I'm trying really, really hard to not wear those things on
my sleeve and I'm praying for God to remind me that I'm beyond
fortunate to be able to go to a mall and buy clothes when I need
them and that I'm beyond blessed to be doing it with the cutest
little co-shopper ever.
At this point, I start feeling a little convicted about the
angry part of the hangry and I try to release it through a deep
exhale and a silent uttering of remorse. But it's still kinda
hanging on, kinda like the 15 pounds that just will not quit around
my hips and thighs.
I'm lost in this whirlwind of thought as we're walking when I
notice my boy pulling me toward Santa.
Even though we're on a time schedule, and I'm hangry, and we've
already seen Santa a few times this season, I sense that it's very
important to him so we head over for a short visit.
My boy approaches the man with the beard and declares, "I have
something for you!"
Santa nods, smiles and asks my boy if he wants to come tell
Santa what he'd like for Christmas because Santa would be happy to
bring him something special.
My boy walks closer to Santa, grinning and says, "No, Santa! I
have a gift for YOU."
Santa looks at him inquisitively as if he doesn't really
understand what this little guy of mine has said, and honestly, I'm
just as lost as Santa so I wait for my youngest son to respond.
My boy, he shoves his chubby preschool hand into the depths of
his little jeans pocket and pulls out his favorite candy - a
Tootsie Roll. He walks closer to Santa and places it in his hand,
declares a hearty but small "Merry Christmas, Santa!" and begins to
Santa reaches his hand out to give the candy back to me, but my
boy says, "No! That's a gift for Santa!"
Santa looks at my boy, joy in his eyes and tells him what a good
boy he is, what a generous boy he is. My boy's eyes shine with pure
joy as a wide grin spreads across his face.
Santa offers my boy a candy cane and my boy happily accepts the
As we walk away, I slow us to a halt, bend down and look into my
boy's bright blue eyes, still sparkling.
"You did a really nice thing," I say. "You gave Santa a present
when normally he is the one who is always giving presents."
My boy keeps on grinning and I give him a hug as I whisper that
I am so grateful for him in his ear.
Because I am.
I am thankful.
I am thankful he slowed me down.
I am thankful that because my clothes didn't fit, I found myself
in the mall I don't do, with him, on this very busy morning in
And I'm thankful that his small act of generosity bridged the
gap for my heart to merrily depart from a season of gratitude into
a season of giving beautiful gifts. I am reminded of how the two
are actually intricately interwoven, with threads of thanksgiving
and the gifts of grace and mercy and love.
I just have to follow one string to another.
A journalist by nature and profession, Hyacynth has been on special assignment from the great editor and chief covering the foreign land of motherhood alongside her brave husband for six years.
See more of Hyacynth's stories here.
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