The dollar tree.

The dollar tree.

In a long line of mini-vans and suvs at 4pm sharp, I waited. Watching as little ones walked out the big doors hand in hand with a teacher or aide until they spotted their beloved parent. It became like follow the leader, as one by one, each dropped their teacher’s hand and raced into mom or dad’s widespread arms. Parent and child’s face matching for a moment of pure joy. And no matter what happened later that night or even on the car ride home, they had that. That moment together.

So I watched. Looking for my little Nick to come out those big doors hand in hand with his teacher. And everyday he did. And everyday I ran up to him. And his greeting was a predictable, methodical “Can we go to the dollar tree?” Every. Day.

Rather than a warm embrace and loving smile, I heard a long line of objections and accusations if my answer wasn’t the desired one. Always ending with a defeated, “that’ll be too long,” after I would suggest we go another time. I would feebly affirm my love and ask after Nick’s day. It seemed to matter little. The goal was singular. The dollar tree.

And now so many months later, I look back and see myself. Not in the woman full of love for her little one. But in the short-sighted child who can’t see beyond her own cheap desires.

How often do I say hello to God with my petty demands? Why? When? How? No warm greeting from a child full of love for her Father. But rather pouts and shouts of “that’ll be too long!” if I’m to wait.

I want my answers. My way. My now.

It feels embarrassingly familiar.

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