Tonight, I had to tell our youngest, “No,” and it just broke my heart to watch him struggle with the answer, fight back the tears, and, finally, come into my arms for comfort and to shed a few more years. It wasn’t a no that I wanted to give, and it definitely wasn’t a moment of excitement, but I told him, “No,” because the cost was just too high, and we just didn’t have it to give for a new pet.
You see, he wanted a leopard gecko. He loves animals…LOVES them, I say. He always has; if I would let him, he would have his room (or the whole house, for that matter!) full of all kinds of creatures. He had been talking about this latest endeavor for about a week. He had researched what they eat, what their habitat needed and how they slept. He was ready. We headed to the pet store with the pre-knowledge that mom could pull the brakes, if needed, depending upon price, difficulty of care and the need to feed them live food. Note: Because he is only ten, and knowing the reputation he has of loving the pets but, eventually, leaving most the feeding and cleaning to mom, I was not going to be okay with a pet who was high maintenance or needed live animals in its diet. (Sorry, I’m really not a “girly girl,” but I don’t care much for crickets, worms, etc.)
Off to the pet store we went. The lady who helped us was incredibly knowledgeable. She had a fish, a bearded dragon and a cat at home herself. She was so patient and informative, even as we switched the decision, due to daily live cricket feedings to once a week live feedings, from a leopard gecko to a eyelash crested gecko,. Once all of the needed materials were loaded into the cart, and I started calculating in my head that this was rounding out at about $200, without the $50 gecko, I had to call dad…this was just a big chunk of change for such a small pet. Dad made the final call and agreed that, indeed, it was simply too much to be spent right now. I watched as my sweet, pet-loving, son took the news with courage and understanding but, also, with a broken little heart.
He dutifully put all the items back on the shelf, refusing any comfort or conversation, until I finally said, “Buddy, come here a second.” He came into my arms and buried his little face and cried. It broke my heart. I knew it was the right decision we had to make, but feeling his little arms around my waist and looking into his red, tear stained eyes, I was ready to weep. I wanted to make it all perfect for him, to see his beautiful smile and hear his little squeals of laughter and delight.
Do I just want to give all things to my children no matter the cost or consequence? By all means! Is it for their betterment if I do this? Definitely not. It made me think of our Heavenly Father when He has to tell us, “No.” He doesn’t tell us no, because He wants to keep us from happiness. He doesn’t tell us no, because He is a mean father and just wants to see us cry and complain. He tells us no for our good. He tells us no, because He has a better plan. He tells us no, because He wants us to grow and learn and become whom He has designed in perfection.
When JMan earns all of the money to go back and buy that gecko, he will have grown a little. He will have learned more of what rewards can come when a little hard work and effort are achieved. He will also have learned a lot about appreciation for a gift well earned rather than an attitude of entitlement for a gift just simply received. Over the next few weeks, when the tears have settled and the little jobs are being done around the house, he and I will talk about the lesson that’s being learned…a life lesson: there are times we won’t always get what we want instantly, but if we set a goal, take the necessary steps to get there, it is always achievable. We will, also, talk about how in the moment, the tears may come and the disappointment may feel as if it’s breaking our heart, but given time, we will see clearly the growth, strength and healing which come when we handle our disappointments the way he did today.
On a lighter note, I found this pic today could very well and see this being him one day…without the pink pjs and long hair, of course. Lol…
**note: I do not possess, I do not own nor did I take this picture. It came up via Facebook. I simply screenshot it and posted here.