i arrived at my parents’ house carrying my weekly pot of soup. my dad was not in a good mood. i could tell right away. he sat there in his favorite spot on the worn leather couch and barely acknowledged my presence. i gave him a hug and a big smile, “hey, it’s beautiful outside, wanna go for a walk?”
“i already did that,” he retorted, barely looking up from his iPad. “what took you so long?”
“traffic, dad. i’m here now. yay!,” i reminded myself that the positive can change the negative, and that i have choices. i chose not to be offended or hurt, gave him his space to be in his bad mood, and went to visit my mom in the other room. she was in the bathroom with rose, happy to see me.
as the day wore on, my dad continued to be mr grouch. nothing i said was going to help him out of his negativity. i decided to take my mom for a walk, get some sun and enjoy the day (and maybe part of me wanted to get away from the negativity), but i invited him to come along, and to my surprise he decided to join.
we found a nice shady spot outside and i began to read aloud ann lamott’s book, help, thanks, wow – my three simple prayers. ann lamott has a wonderful sense of humor, and she had my dad chuckling at some point.
the shift was palpable.
at dinner, i found myself sitting next to the father i know exists but sometimes gets lost when he makes the choice to be mr. grouch. he looked across the room and waved at his friend across the way, “emma! your hair looks so nice today.”
wow!…you should have seen the look on emma’s face. i wanted to cry.
emma quietly hobbled over, and the biggest smile filled the space, “you just made my day, chih!” and she looked at me and said, ” a man just told me i look nice! that doesn’t happen anymore.”