Reality Check

26 Nov

I had a reality check today…

It was more like a reality “slap upside the head.”

I took my dad to the grocery store. This is something that I do every week. Dad doesn’t drive any longer, and living on a fixed income means that he shops weekly, buying smaller amounts and watching the weekly sale ads for good prices.

It also means that sometimes he wants me to drive him to another store so that he can save 20 cents on a gallon of milk…

This annoys me…

One time, I asked him how much he was going to save on a case of bottled water if I drove him to the other store to buy it.

“A dollar,” he said, somewhat defensively.

Me, being the magnanimous, generous, pompous ass that I can be, pulled out my wallet, handed him a dollar, and said, “There. Now we don’t have to make another stop.”

It was my wife who told me what a pompous ass I had been…

Ok, she didn’t exactly call me that. In fact she didn’t call me that at all. That’s just how I felt after she gently pointed out to me that my dad was trying to be wise with his money, trying to make it stretch through the month.

While I figured that she was being overly sensitive on his behalf, I agreed to try to be more understanding and patient during our weekly trips.

When I picked him up today, he said that he wanted to stop at CVS before the grocery store and Walgreens after the grocery store. Milk was on sale at CVS and bottled water was discounted at Walgreens. I mentally gritted my teeth, and said, “ok.”

After we left CVS and headed for the grocery store, I received my reality “slap upside the head.”

“I wanted to thank you,” dad said. “You’ve been much more pleasant the last few times you took me to the store.”

I felt embarrassed. “I’m sorry, dad. I guess I’m just too self-centered sometimes…but I’m working on it.”

I wish that I had some valid reason for needing to save time or gas by driving all over town and making all of these stops. But we live in a small town. As I write this, dad is shopping in the grocery store, and I can see both CVS AND Walgreens from the comfort of my car!

No, the reason for my impatience is because I am self-centered. My human nature wants to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.

I love my dad…I really do.

But I haven’t made a very good effort to show it. And he has noticed.

What about you? Are you struggling to show someone important in your life how valuable they are to you? Do you find yourself short of patience when asked to help? What are you doing to try to overcome your “self-focus?”

Well, here comes my dad…I think I’ll take him to Walgreens.


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