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?  She has a difficult time. “What if I make the wrong choice?”  “I kind of want this one, yet kind of want that one too” and “I’m hungry and everything sounds good how can I possibly pick one thing”. If I ask her to pick out cereal, it will literally take her 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 and you realize you will be in Toys R Us until it closes.  And your daughter may act like, well, someone else’s kid.  “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? really?), “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!!!”.  (actual picture of her lying on the floor in Toys R Us).  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 no where near leaving yet.  Because she has a Gift Certificate and we promised she could get whatever she wanted.

Then after a lifetime, she makes a decision and we go home.  It doesn’t quite go as planned, yet what really does? And the good news is that my daughter is about as happy as a 5 year old can be because she has an ‘I picked this one out myself with my own money’ stuffed animal.  And it is as cute as a bug.

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.  And although I may not like Gift Certificates because of the stress, 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 I have.

With love from Grand Haven,