I arrived home from work one Friday evening in a very bad mood. I was dragging home baggage that wasn’t even mine to claim after a week of feeling like a human doormat.
Please note that I used the word “feeling.” It doesn’t have to be true to feel real. This felt very real.
This wasn’t my cranky, “Kelly skipped lunch again” attitude. This was more about the weariness of all the things that topple over us every day; the stuff that builds up over a week, from the mundane politics we navigate, to the relationships we form that deplete us, to the strangers we meet that confound us. Everybody loves you when they need you. Then they don’t.
I had reached the point where all humanity was irritating. Everyone. I wanted to be a kid again and build a fort with blankets and dining room chairs, throw pillows all over the floor, grab a flashlight, my book and crawl inside, draping the blanket over the exit. No one would be allowed in.
Go away. Stay out.
“Adulting” means you don’t have the luxury of bad moods without responsibility. I drove my daughter to work but I didn’t speak for the entire journey. I wasn’t unkind, I was just so far in my head I couldn’t speak. Selfish. I wasn’t present for her and none of this was her fault.
No one was exempt from my discontent, not even the Carpenter. That rarely happens. Yet, when I got his daily “what’s the dinner plan?” text, my reply was short: “I don’t care. It’s been a day. I can’t make another decision.” Poor guy.
I know he was standing in the produce aisle wondering what meal would make his wife happy. Nothing. Nothing was going to fix this mood. It was going to have to run its course. That’s how bad moods work.
My cup was empty. I was depleted. My own doing. I knew it. Thus, it didn’t help when the Carpenter pointed out the obvious over the lovely gluten-free pasta dinner he made for his miserable wife. He said the situations, the annoyances, the exhaustion, are all because of scenarios I put myself in because I don’t set clear boundaries with people. He was right.
That only made my mood worse though. I appreciated the honesty. Maybe not in the moment, though. Not at all. In that moment I wanted to knock down his fort and steal all his blankets. Jerk.
When I went back out to pick up my daughter later that night, my mood had not improved, but I didn’t want to be grumpy with her again, so I suggested we stop and get some snacks. She knew that was code for chips and dip. I have taught her well. That’s when she told me the Carpenter had already bought some.
“Dad said you had a bad day, so he knew you needed chips and dip,” she said, smiling. “He brought it home tonight. The dip is in the fridge. Didn’t you know?”
I didn’t know. I was too busy being in a bad mood. One act of kindness would change all that. The Carpenter serves me the hard truth, but always remembers the chip dip to soothe my savage beast of a mood. He gets me. Love is a funny thing. Fill the chip bowl. Grab the dip. Blow a kiss.
Head into my fort. Get over it.