The Day the Monster was Slain

This is a picture of the actual spot where these events occurred. 

I was a brat as a kid.  Shocking, I know.  I mean, I was an only child, so I have that excuse… but let’s be honest – I was a brat monster.

I loved G. I. Joe.  Still do, kind of, but not with the same intensity.  Anyway, every time I saw a G. I. Joe toy I wanted, I would get it.  Not because I had a job and could buy it myself, but because I would throw a tantrum in the middle of the store to manipulate my mom into getting me what I want.  I said I was a brat; I didn’t say I was stupid.

Here’s the thing: it worked.  I’m not sure if my mom felt guilty or if she just loved me so much she wanted me to be happy all the time, but I could get what I wanted whenever I wanted.  Life was great – for a brat.

But then came “The Gottschalks Incident” as we will hereinafter refer to it.  If my mom is reading this, she already knows what it is.  It’s the day she slayed the monster.

If you’re not familiar with the now-bankrupt California retailer “Gottschalks” I’d invite you to read about it on wikipedia, except it’s just information about a store, so it’s not really worth inviting you to read.  Either way,  it was a department store that mom would frequent.  I liked it because it had toys (unlike Mervyn’s, which had removed their toy section – a traumatic experience at this brat’s young age).

I don’t remember how old I was – I’m guessing around 5 – and we were in Gottschalk’s.  I saw this G. I. Joe Tank there, and it. was. awesome.   Not just some cheesy 1-cannon tank.  This was the vehicle to end the whole war between G. I. Joe and Cobra.  This thing alone had rockets, anti-aircraft guns, a huge cannon, and if I remember right, an actual working 9mm pistol.  (Maybe I made that last part up…)  Anyway, I saw it, I wanted needed it, and I commenced my tantrum.

I threw out all the stops: I rolled on the ground, I pulled on her leg with all my might, I screamed as loudly as possible.  I had tears, red eyes, a sad face, and then an angry face. I ran the full gamut of manipulative emotions.  The incredible happened: she did not cave in.

“What is going on here!?!” I thought to myself.  I was pretty sure she could hear me and see me and feel me pulling on her leg/hand, but it wasn’t working.  “It’s time,” I thought, and I pulled out the big gun:

Me: “I’m running away, then!”
Mom: “Fine.”

I started walking to the exit of the store to show her I meant business, but she just kept on shopping.  I checked over my shoulder virtually every step I made; she made no indication of changing her mind.

Then I was outside.

I remember my thoughts clearly.  It wasn’t like I was at some crisis point, and reality hit me, “Where am I going to go?  What am I going to eat?”  It was reality hitting me in a different way: “She called your bluff.”  I knew I was lying the whole time.  It was the only card I had left to play to get what I want.  She called my bluff.  Show over.  Monster slain.

I have a really good memory of that day, because that’s the day my mom taught me that we don’t get things by whining or complaining.  It was the day she was “tough mom.”  And after having kids of my own (not to mention seeing other people’s kids), I realize that being “tough parent” is not easy or fun, but it is necessary.

I gained a lot of respect for my mom on that day because I realized that she was in charge – not me.  And in some strange way, it made me feel more secure.  The people who were supposed to be in charge actually were.

Once that was established in my mind, I took more notice of what both my parents did and how they acted. My mom reads her Bible every day, and has for as long as I can remember.  She is the primary reason that I am a Christian (besides my name).  And, in a sense, she’s the primary reason I’m an overseas missionary.

So, this post is dedicated to my mother: tough mom, loving mom, the mom who slayed the monster and consequently saved her son.

Mom, Thank you and I Love You.

My mom and our family after Mercy’s Dedication

Posted in Bonus Post