This weekend I had the kids with me. Saturday we ran by Kroger’s to pick up some stuff to make “breakfast for dinner” — something both me and the kids love. While we were there my son Aaron stopped in front of the sushi bin and saw one of his favorite sushi rolls was there (apparently they don’t make too many and they sell out quick). Anyway, he pleaded with me to get it for him, and I said we could pick it up and he could have it for lunch on Sunday. After finishing the groceries, we put the bags in the hatch and head home, unload the groceries and I start on dinner.
Today — Sunday — we’re out running a few errands and Aaron’s in the back seat. “Oh crap,” he says. I glance in the rear view mirror and he’s holding up a plastic grocery bag. “I left the sushi back here since yesterday. Is it bad now?”
“Yeah, probably. We’ll need to throw it away.”
“Awww…” He’s disappointed. Then he adds, “Sorry Dad” after realizing that basically we just threw $8 in the trash.
I can tell he feels bad, so I just say “Well, we all make mistakes.” I try to think if there’s some sort of lesson to be taught here, but he knows he screwed up. I mean, I suppose I should have caught that the sushi didn’t make it into the fridge the night before, but the kids were helping me put the groceries away and I was busy fixing dinner, so I didn’t even really notice. I just assumed the sushi was in the fridge and put it out of my mind. I wasn’t thrilled to have thrown $8 in the trash, but shit happens.
It occurred to me as I pondered how to respond to the incident that some parents would have screamed their head off at the kid for it. I’ve seen other parents do it out in public. My own father might have very well made me feel like total shit if I’d done that. And it was a strange feeling that I had in that moment, where I was grateful that my son had me as a Dad rather than someone who would have screamed at him over something like that. Imagining an alternate-universe Aaron having to deal with that sort of reaction… just made me both sad and relieved.
At the very least I suppose the lesson there is something that’s important in how I live my life– don’t sweat the small stuff. There’s no point in getting upset and angry over small bumps in the road that’s just a part of living. Save that energy for the things that truly warrant it.
I did make a mental note to myself that, one day, when Aaron’s a grown man and maybe we’ll meet somewhere for lunch I’ll order the sushi and remind him he owes me one. Hopefully we’ll have a laugh over that.