We all have a job as parents. Moms and dads. No matter how our families happen to be constructed. No matter which roles in the family we hold, we are responsible for teaching our children. Showing them the way. Whether we like it or not, they are watching us. Watching us for how to be and how to act.
My parents had traditional roles. My mom was a housewife for most of my childhood, before they opened their swimming pool business. Before that, my dad worked a lot to support us. There were a lot of late nights where I remember him coming home as I was laying in bed.
To a certain extent, My Director and I have turned those roles around. We both work. We divide cleaning evenly. The kitchen and bathrooms are my responsibility. She handles the finances and is even better than me at fixing
Two examples from Christmas, one past and one present, tell the story...
|My Director fixing the tree.|
(Me taking picture.)
She was the repair person. Once the Elf was safely tucked away at an alternate location, with the use of grilling tongs, I announced that dinner had to be started. By me. A few minutes later My Director, having swapped out the new stand that we just bought thinking it was better than the old reliable one, called me over to "hold the tree" while she tightened the screws on the old reliable one. I may not be handy, but I'm still strong and (somewhat) muscular. I can lift heavy things with the best of them. Only to a point...
Before I lifted, I warned her that I only had two minutes for this endeavor. At the most. I was at a crucial point in the cooking process. My hands and face full of tree, getting an effective if unexpected shoulder workout, I heard what I knew I'd hear at some point during this nuisance of a project and said:
"I hear my olive oil crackling..."
"This'll just take a minute..."Famous last words. I didn't want my oil to burn. Thankfully, it didn't. She tightened the last bolt, I let go, the tree stood on its own, and I sauteed my tilapia. (And it was delicious.) Not only do I not enjoy handy work, I don't like being the helper either. When my dad would ask me to "hold this" when he was fixing something in or around our home growing up, I would roll my eyes and groan. I found it incredibly boring and tedious. In hindsight, I wish I had absorbed some of that do-it-yourself knowledge. But I didn't. What I did absorb is everything my mom was doing in the kitchen. Turns out, I'd rather cook something than fix something. Although, one might argue that in cooking I am fixing something. And something pretty big at that.
|Christmas morning 2008.|
"Who does she see cooking in our REAL kitchen every night?"
|Me making crab cakes|
for Christmas Eve.
She's watching. She's watching both of us, observing and absorbing. She looks up to her mom because she has the same hair as her and works in the fun school with the older girls and the cool office. That's fine with me. She sees me cooking, and when she pretends to prepare us a meal, I beam with pride. Not because a woman belongs in the kitchen, but because she's acquiring a love of cooking from me, a boy who got his love of cooking from his mom.
I want her to believe she can do anything she wants, do it well, and do it just as well if not better than any other boy or girl.
Peanut is not only watching us, she's listening as well. I learned that lesson the hard way recently. I wrote about that HERE.