One time I went to the thrift store and found some sweet stuff:
a globe for my son Liam, a bike helmet for my son Ossi (which was a super amazing deal for a very nice helmet), a portable cooler for my son Finn (who likes to experiment with ice), and a tea-pot for my daughter Evy.
I also found the most hilarious one-of-a-kind toy dinosaur (he was supposed to be scary but his face was kind-of smiling and his little, short arms were posed like "jazz-hands") that I planned on leaving on someone's doorstep to brighten their day. Speaking of a brightened day, this dino fit perfectly on my steering-wheel, hands at 10 and 2, so that it looked like it was driving the car. I laughed the whole drive home.
I brought it all inside and went to make dinner. When I walked back into the other room I realized that our dog had chewed up the bike helmet! AND THE DINOSAUR'S HEAD. I am still not quite over the loss of my jazz-handed friend. It was more awesome than the most awesome of the plastic dinosaurs I could find on google images.
Not long after the tragic demise the neighbor kid dropped the globe out of the tree-house and it broke (apparently our neighbor isn't "worldly," get it? haha). Then Evy broke the handle off of her tea pot, all this in under an hour from bringing the bounty home. Only the cooler survived. Sort-of.
I am thankful for the eternal perspective that helped me get through that moment and learn with more conviction the truth of Matthew 6: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
I just have to remember my motivation for wanting to buy that stuff in the first place. Because I love my kids and I wanted them to know that I was thinking about them. Because I was looking for ways to serve others. What happened to the gifts doesn't matter so much, I just have to remind myself that it's about having our hearts in the right place.
(Is it okay to have a little place in my heart for a plastic dinosaur?)