I hopped out of the car, and ushered one of my children out of the vehicle to have a face-to-face talk.
I wanted so badly to scold. The behavior was just atrocious and the language had crossed from disappointed to down right rude after I'd said we'd be sticking to a rule my husband and I made despite today being a special holiday.
But when I looked into my little's red eyes, I could see the pain and frustration spilling over into tears.
Said child was upset because this entire day was not going the way he wanted.
"Nothing is going right!" he sobbed.
The Spirit whispered to me to respond with understanding instead of laying down the law; this wasn't just about a rule being held. This was about something much bigger.
"It's true," I said gently. "Life isn't fair. Things don't always go the way you want them to go. And that's difficult."
Traffic whizzed by several yards away, as we continued to talk on the sidewalk of a side street.
"When things don't go my way ... it's just bad ..." he said. "And it makes me angry."
"Me, too," I confided.
"Like what?" he asked inquisitively.
I shared with him that Father's Day has been hard for me since my dad, his grandfather, died four years ago.
We connected in that instance beneath the early-evening sun.
"And that's sad," I said. "I've had to cry a lot of tears and heal ... but now I choose whether or not I am going to be happy regardless of circumstances."
I told him that while I still miss my dad, I am thankful for the fathers God has brought to my life. I have several incredible men in my life who have stepped up to the plate and taken me as though I was actually their own. And I married a man who has shown himself an incredible dad.
"That's a whole lot to be thankful for ... even when I'm sad and miss my dad."
"But sometimes I am angry."
I wanted to explain to him how I've been learning to release the anger I've harbored and replace it with love ... from God and from myself and from others God has placed in my life.
I wanted to tell him about how anger eats away at our insides and how it hurts us so much more than we realize, how God has been so faithful and so good to give me love and how I've learned to receive love.
How I've needed more to heal from my own anger than I've needed to heal from the actual hurts the anger was born from.
But I knew those words were for a different day.
Today, I simply said, "Me, too, son. Sometimes I'm angry, too. But I'm learning to choose happiness after I express my anger and tell God about it. Maybe you might feel better if you do the same? What are you grateful for?"
So we name the blessings one by one aloud together, at first begrudgingly ... and by the time we arrive at our destination, my child who normally can hold a grudge for an entire day, said aloud without prompting how thankful he was to see family we don't get to see often enough.
And by the time we arrive, I find myself thankful to have shared pieces of the day with each of the men still on Earth who have loved me as a daughter.