A cinnamon and sugar pretzel was all it took to bring a flood of tears today. Happy-sad tears. Not all happy and not all sad.
I looked at Elli and Audrey and Elli was the first one to speak. “I miss home today”, she said. Me too, I thought.
Audrey chimed in, “Me too. These pretzels aren’t nearly as good as the ones at home.”
I smiled because I knew it, too. The moment I smelled the cinnamon, I thought of our Saturdays in Dallas. Cinnamon and Sugar pretzels were our special treat when it was just the 3 of us. We shared a Diet Coke, but we all got our own pretzel. I thought I was the only one who made the connection, but my girls immediately remembered.
We sat on weird cube seating inside the Wal-Mart McDonald’s and ate our pretzels with little talking.
“It’s fun to do good things,” Elli said. ” I think Nickie is going to like her new shoes and socks. I’m glad we were able to get her school supplies. I bet she has been worrying how her mom was going to be able to afford them.”
I nodded and looked at my first born. She listens to every word I say and for the moment I was fully aware of how this decision to follow Christ was impacting our children. This decision to follow Christ here was a good thing, at least in Elli’s eyes.
We tossed half of our pretzels in the trash and gathered our bags. I looked at my girls and they grinned at me. “They weren’t that bad, Mama,” Audrey said. She is my child who is full of grace and mercy. I looked at her and pulled her to me. I wish I had her heart.
The girls and I got to the car and placed each child’s school supplies and shoes, socks, and underwear into their own bags.
“You girls need to write a thank you note to Julia,” I said. “She would love to know how we used her gift.”
They agreed and we made our way back home. We made our delivery of gifts and a funny thing happened. As we met our porch swing kids on their porch, my heart pitter-pattered. It kind of flip-flopped. I blinked back tears and gave each child their own bags of things. Each child ran into the house and closed the door behind them and my heart was opened wide.
There were no thank you’s and they were not needed. We got into my car as fast as they ran into their house, all of us unsure of what had just happened.
“I think Nickie was happy to get some new underwear, ” Elli said. “She smiled when I told her what was in the bag, but I think she was a little embarrassed. I would be.”
I looked at her in the rear view mirror and I caught a glimpse of something that made me tear up with happy tears.
She gets it. My kids are getting what it means to sacrifice the things they love for the good of someone else.
“I hope she loves her shoes,” Audrey said.