Thankful, Patient, Mellower

People change all the time.

-Tony Shalhoub

People can change, and when they do, we are fortunate to witness it.

I recently started working with my dad. He’s an old school architect in his 70s, still drawing plans by hand and driving all over Oahu to measure houses. Recent environmental regulations for storm water runoff on construction sites require additional paperwork and processes for builders and homeowners. My brother and sister worked with Pop for years; this time, I’m it.

You know something, I love it! It’s supposed to be work, but it feels more like play, geeking out over houses and neighborhoods with my dad. Last month we drove around Waianae (West Oahu) for hours, taking pictures of completed projects and looking at houses and communities in Waianae. He drove and yakked while I ogled the unusually green Waianae mountain range and homes in a touristy way, my head nearly sticking out the window. A few weeks later, it was my turn to drive, and he gazed at the beaches and mountains of East Oahu in Waimanalo, Kailua, and Kaneohe.

He only recently acquired a smartphone, so he does not use GPS to navigate. I am amazed at his memory of places he has lived or worked on over the decades. We stopped in front of the exact house he and Mom lived in almost 50 years ago, in Kahala. Before that, we drove to the street they lived in when I was born, in Waianae, also many decades in the past. Woo! Can you remember the exact location of your home 10 years ago? Twenty years ago? His brain must be like those of English cabbies with over-developed navigational awareness.

My relationship with my dad was very different, growing up. I got in trouble, Mom scolded, Dad lectured. A lot. After I became a mom, I worked with Dad as a building plan router for a few months. Dad and lil’ bro were often unpleasant when I didn’t understand something right away, so I returned to mothering full time.

He says he’s fortunate to have worked with all three of his kids at one time, but I’m the lucky one because Pop finally mellowed out. When I accompany him as Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Coordinator, we talk about stuff, life, and look at houses. It’s awesome!

He talks about Mom a lot, admiring and appreciating her, and how thankful he is for their life, his business, and everything God has given him. When he’s tired of talking, he turns on country music. We don’t have to agree. I’m not trying to get his approval. I help where and when I can.

People change. If they are learning, growing, and trying to improve, people can change.

How inspiring to be around a thankful person at peace with his choices.

I’m different, my dad’s different, and circumstances worked out so we can share time together.

We accept each other’s faults and appreciate our strengths. I am thankful my parents are healthy and have good relationships with their grandchildren. I am thankful my hooligan kids are interested in their grandparents’ lives, help as needed, and are respectful.

Like Peter says, we are Blessed. Beyond Belief. And so are you.

Your Turn

How have you or someone else changed over time?

Image by Andrew K. Smith on

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