Decency, I Suppose
Saturday morning was already off to a bumpy start. The guys had destroyed the living room (as usual), left much of their breakfast uneaten, and had to be separated a few times for rough-housing.
Despite the aggravation bubbling inside me, we set out on our “Dadur-day” adventures. Saturday’s we embark on a spontaneous agenda of guy stuff and normally everyone is happy and carefree. The boys indeed were. So much so their behavior veered into rambunctiousness everywhere we went. I know, they’re little boys and so what’s the use trying to control their shenanigans?
Decency, I suppose. And it was in the grocery store where mine ran out. Post our Jersey Mike’s lunch where they made a scene and after the library where we had to leave because they couldn’t use inside voices, it was there in the produce section where I made them sit down and told them to control themselves. I held their little forearms with force. It wasn’t a good show of parenting. There I was mortified by their behavior in a public place, only publically mortifying myself.
On the car ride home, after we’d made it out of the grocery store and once things had cooled down, my eldest said, “Dad, I’m sorry you’re mad.”
His words seared right into my heart. One, because I knew it was me that was in a jerk mood and he bore the brunt of it, and two because he showed first-class empathy. As a parent of small children, I often wonder when my kids will care for anyone else but themselves. My wife and I constantly remind them of the importance of other people’s feelings and how to honor them. Rarely do we see it real time.
And yet there are those moments when they shine through. When their universe is inverted, and when their higher selves radiate outward, warming all they touch.