I know I’m am stating the obvious – but behavior is complicated. Rarely are the surface behaviors we see as simple as we make them out to be. Unfortunately we don’t always know the back stories or issues people are dealing with that might trigger their behaviors. So we assume – and judge – and misinterpret.
Yesterday, for my wife’s birthday, we spent 12 hours car shopping since her van was on its last leg. To add to the fun, Marc Daniel (son #3) came with us and decided to purchase his first new car. The day was exhausting, but the mission was successful and we came home with two new vehicles.
The 11th hour of this adventure wasn’t so pleasant. I had some curt words for the finance man after having waited two hours to see him. It wasn’t the wait, but his failure to communicate the wait time that upset me. Really it wasn’t that either. It was realization that as my son signed the contract, this was the first step in preparing to move out of our house come February. It was also about my h-anger, not having eaten in five hours. But mostly, it was about the visor clip. Let me explain.
Marc Daniel traded in an old Nissan Altima for his new car. We got $250.00 for it – though I believe it was worth much less. The vehicle was inherited from my mother when she passed away. This poor car had served us well, and last night, the last thing Marc cleaned out of it was a gift from my mom – an angel visor clip with the words “Son, be safe.” As he transferred the clip from the old to new vehicle I realized that mom had died exactly eight years ago to the day. And at that moment, though it was the right thing to do, I had a hard time letting go of mom’s old car. [My wife and I are totally convinced the only thing that kept the car from completely falling apart prior to laying it to rest at the dealership last night was that visor clip and momma watching out for my boys.]
During this crazy time of year, people are sure to have back stories. So, rather than jumping to judgment, when faced with behavioral conflict choose a path of understanding and compassion. Not only will this help you deal better with the situation, but I’m guessing it is a lesson all of our mommas would want us to heed. Once again – Thanks, mom.