Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Can't Put a Price on Service...

Last night we had a great opportunity to serve as a family together. My husband called before he left work and said that was asked to do a Sub for Santa for four children--two boys and two girls both our children's ages. Instead of doing it himself or assigning it to one of his coworkers he thought it would be a great opportunity for our family to go together and shop for these children.

So Target was taken by storm last night by a Mom, a Dad, two kids, and two shopping carts. We loaded up those carts to overflowing with a Barbie house, cars, clothes, Littlest Pet Shops, Transformers, Spiderman, Spongebob, shoes and wrapping paper.

But it wasn't the accomplishment of finishing our list that brought satisfaction to us. It was the fact that as a family, this was our first real service project. And it felt great to serve someone else. We loved watching our daughter become possessive of "the girl's cart." She rolled her eyes, huffed, and asked how much longer we were going to be shopping for "the boys" when we were in the boys department. She also uttered a few "eeeew's" in when we had to shop for underwear for the little boys. But when I announced that it was time to shop for the girl's, her reaction changed. She took the girl's department by storm.

"Get this for them Mom!"

"Dad, those shoes are the BEST! They're sooooo cute! You have to get them Dad."

"No Dad, not that shirt, that one. It's got Littlest Pet Shop on it! And she likes Littlest Pet Shop."

We were so impressed with her checking the list and making sure that everything we got went along with what these girls wanted. From the toys, to the clothes, she was the official 'girl expert.'

Except when it came to Moxie Girls. One of the little girls wanted a Moxie girl doll, and my daughter didn't know what that was. But our son who can't read yet could. "Look Dad, here's one!" He easily pulled one out of a sea of Barbie, Groovy Girls, Bratz dolls and Fancy Nancy dolls. All of you advertising execs out there--you're good.

Of course, he had a blast picking out toys from the toy aisle. My husband grew exasperated with him as he secretly threw toys into the shopping cart behind our backs. When my husband had to fish them back out, my son would say, "but Dad, this little boy needs cars. And these are so cool."

We didn't think he would understand the concept of giving. But apparently he did. More than we knew. How can you not feel a tug on the heart strings when you see your son trying to buy the entire Target toy department for two little boys? How can you not tear up when you see your daughter get into the spirit of giving by meticulously checking the list over and over to make sure two little girls got what they wanted? And how can you not love your spouse more than watching him navigate through the crowded aisles of Target with two little ones in tow asking for their opinion and advice? You can't.

You can't put a price on serving others. And you can't help but feel great, but sad at the same time. It's easy to think that we could have been one of these families this year. That all of us are close to being in a situation like this. Some of us may even be in the situation or have been in the past. We can't always help in the way that we did. But we make sure that we do when we're able. Because we learn the most about ourselves when we forget ourselves. Serving helps you to remember that many of the problems we face in life are insignificant. That all of us will face different challenges in life. Health, financial, or mental. It doesn't matter. What matters is we think less of ourselves, and more of others. It's the main reason I love this season so much. Service extends beyond Christmas. But last night, it was Christmas for us and several families.

Happy Holidays!

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