It is common place here in Greencastle to make Jazminei-Target trips; trips that are made to Target to get things Jazmine has need of (lotion, body wash, Pull-Ups, socks, etc) and nothing more. Jazmine’s grandfather gave her some money for her birthday. I set it aside to cover any future needs (Jazmine-Target trips) she will have. Her most recent need was for shoes. She needed tennis shoes, dress shoes, and sandals. She has needed tennis shoes for a couple of weeks now but I didn’t rush off to the store because 1. I forgot we had the cash set aside to get her some and 2. She is rarely in tennis shoes. We don’t wear shoes inside of the house, she can’t wear shoes when we go to the local inflatable play place, and we don’t spend all day outside. However, yesterday, my husband said, “She needs shoes,” so I went to get her some today.
I found her tennis shoes, dress shoes, and sandals all at one store. The store was running a BOGO sale which made it all the more better. The clerk was very good because I know nothing about how big to get shoes so they fit but still have room for her to grow into them. I was very pleased. The clerk asked if I was going to get another pair of shoes so I could get it for half off. I needed tennis shoes. I have had a hole in the top of my left tennis shoe for months now. I didn’t make my husband aware of it. For me, the other needs of my family supercede me getting a pair of tennis shoes. (That being said, after I bought the shoes, I was almost ready to break the budget completely today by buying a COACH bag I didn’t need just because if was 75% off. So, really, I guess it depends on what I term as a “need” whether or not I am going to put it before my family? Smile. I’m just joking about that part. But I digress). Besides, I had just bought a pair of running shoes three weeks ago and they weren’t cheap! I had been wearing the same pair of tennis shoes to work out in and for everyday wear. They were so worn, I could feel every crack in the cement when I walked on it.
I found a pair of tennis shoes that felt good on my feet and looked nice enough for under $50. I thought that was a steal. We get to the register and I realize that I can’t break it into two transactions (buy her shoes in one transaction and buy mine in the other) without missing out on the BOGO for my shoes. So, I paid for all four pairs of shoes with Jazmine’s birthday money. I only had to add $5 more to cover the total cost .
I started to feel guilty. I spent $20 of Jazmine’s birthday money on my shoes. Her grandfather didn’t give that money to me to use for what I needed. He gave it to my husband and I to use for Jazmine’s needs. Then I started to rationalize but I caught myself because I don’t want to be a rationalistic mother. I don’t want to develop the habit of looking to what Jazmine gets and seeing how it can help me out. I want to look at all of Jazmine’s gifts as gifts for her, for her to use for her enjoyment, be it a need or a want.
I called my girlfriend and told her what happened. She is receives child support. She explained it to me like this:
Xara, you didn’t spend all of the money on yourself. Jazmine made out well. You got her three pairs of shoes. Sometimes it happens like that. My daughter has needs and so do I. When I exceed my money and her child support money to cover what she needs in a particular month, I use some of the child support money to cover what I need when it comes in the following month. I take care of my daughter first and me second. The money isn’t always there when the need arises and some needs can’t wait.
I get it. I was very reluctant to getting here but I am here now. Before we left this morning, I asked the Lord to go before us to provide Jazmine with the shoes she needed, that I could get them all at one store with a clerk that knew about sizing, and get them at a price we could afford on the budget we had. God did all that and more. Not only did He answer that prayer with a yes, as and added bonus, he provided me with a pair of much-needed new tennis shoes! God is good! This secondary lesson (blessing?) was not on the prayer list. I didn’t want to understand how “mom’s money” vs. child support money could be fluctuated because I’ve seen child support taken advantage off. I’ve seen and experienced child support recipients inaccurately term a ‘want’ a ‘need’.
In the end, it all comes down to motives and the hidden person of the heart.