A frail old widower, lived with his son, his daughter-in-law, and his four-year-old grandson. His eyes were blurry, his hands trembled, and his step faltered.
The family would eat together at the dinner table. But the elderly person’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult for him. Food fell off his spoon, dropping on the floor. When he grasped his glass the milk often spilled on the tablecloth and his lap.
The son and the daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess he created.
“We must do something about my father,” said the son.
“I have had enough of his spilling food and milk on the table and the floor,” the daughter-in-law said.
So, the couple set a small table at the corner of the dining room. There the old man ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed their dinner at the dinner table. Since the old man had broken a number of ceramic dishes, his food was served in wooden bowls.
The four-year-old boy watched it all in silence. Sometimes the grandson saw, tears rolling down his grandfather’s cheeks as he ate alone.
Still, the only words the couple had for the old man were sharp admonitions when he dropped a spoon or spilled food.
One evening, before supper, the father noticed his little son playing with wood scraps and strings.
He asked, “What are you making, son?”
The boy replied, “Oh, I’m making two little wooden bowls.”
The little boy replied, “Yes. Bowls for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up.”
The boy’s parents were speechless.
The four-year-old smiled sweetly at them and went back to work.
Tears streamed down their cheeks. Though no words were spoken, both knew what must be done.
That evening, the son and daughter-in-law gently led the old man back to the family table while the grandson smiled.
- Advice on Caring for Aging Parents (ayannanahmias.com)