I have never had a hard time making decisions.  I don’t like gray areas, I like black and white and yes or no.  I make decisions all day, every day.  My daughter and sons?  They can’t make a decision to save their life.  If I ask  them to pick out cereal, it will literally take them 10 hours.  So. Many. Choices.  Yet, when Anna received a gift certificate to Toys R Us a number of years ago, she knew exactly what she was going to get.  A stuffed animal.  I mean, another stuffed animal.  She had approximately 1,000,000,000 or so in her bedroom already, but this one she was going to pick out using her GIFT CERTIFICATE.   And the choice was completely hers.  At, like 5 years old.

As parents, you think you have it all figured out.  In our minds, we will go into Toys R Us, gleefully pick out a stuffed animal in 3 minutes, and walk out happy, maybe even holding hands and singing some Sesame Street song.  Maybe stop to McDonalds on the way home because, well, it is such a great day.  Then, reality hits you like a stone and you realize you will be in Toys R Us until it closes.  And your daughter may act like, well, like, well….not someone who can make a decision and perhaps somewhat of an alien.  “What do you think”, “But I want two”, “Jonathan, what do you think”, “Can I get both”, “I want them all”, “but this one is so cute”, “I am not leaving until I have the monkey”, “I am not leaving until I get the doggie”, “I am not leaving until I get the hippo (what? I didn’t even know she knew what a hippo was), “if I leave this one here the doggie will be sad”, “If I leave the otter her, the opossum will be sad”,  “I can’t”,  “I can’t”, “I CAN’T!!!”.  You get what I am saying.  So you wait.  And you laugh.  And you sigh.  And you sit.  And you hold your heads in your hands because at this point, 2 hours have gone by and you are hungry and tired.

Then after a lifetime, she makes a decision and we go home.  No one is really happy.  We don’t stop to McDonald’s.  We just, go home.  And although my daughter is about as happy as a 5 year old can be because she has a ‘I picked this one out myself’ stuffed animal, the rest of us are all spent.  And it shows in our faces.  And in our body language.  And in, pretty much everything we do.

My daughter is older now.  And I wish I could say that things have changed.  They haven’t.  I can’t take her to Meijer to pick out cereal.  I can’t take her to Family Video on a Friday night to pick out a movie….”I want to watch this”,  “no wait, I want this one”, “ohhhh, I haven’t seen this in a while” , “mom, why don’t you pick”, “can we get two?”, “I heard this one was good”….I can’t take her to Fortino’s in town to pick out candy.  It takes too long.  She can’t make a decision.  And although I may not like Gift Certificates because of the stress of my kids (who can’t make decisions) 🙂  I do appreciate the effort.  And I know you mean well. And just because I can make a decision and stick with it, doesn’t mean everyone can.

Decisions, decisions.  A fact of life.  Make good ones.  I hope I do.  I hope my kiddos do.  And if  you can’t, my darlings, I will help you.

With love from Grand Haven,

Julie