As I was doing my usual Sunday clean of my kitchen yesterday I flashed back to a conversation I had with my step-dad when he was here last.
He said “I moved the dish drainer and cleaned under it for you.”
What I heard “Because it’s obvious you never do and it was gross.”
What he meant “To help you out so you didn’t have to do it at some later point, especially with the extra dishes being washed with Mom and I here.” (We don’t have a dishwasher.)
It took me probably a month or two to realize I had heard one thing and he had meant another. At the time? I got defensive. “Well, I do clean it every week!” I protested. His reply? “Well, now you can clean it a few days later.”
Even his additional comment didn’t register with me as non-critical but informative and helpful.
How often do we all do that? Do we hear something someone has said to us and missed the “I’m helping message” in our own internal dialogue?
I know I do it all the time. Not just with my step-dad, although doing that goes way back in our relationship for a variety of reasons, but with my mom (that one goes back oh, about 44 years), my husband, even my son sometimes.
So I am working on becoming more aware of it. So I can change the “But I…” words to “Thanks for the help!”
So thanks for the help, Step-Dad! (Better late than never…I hope.)