Friday, May 15, 2015

My Father's Daughter

The day after The Big Storm, Cubby, Charlie, and I went out during one of Jack's naps to start dragging branches from the uprooted tulip poplar out of the driveway. Cubby and Charlie were all about helping for the first couple of branches, but then Cubby realized how many branches there were, and how long of a drag it was to get them to the gully, and how interesting the water in the gully was.

So when I pulled a few more small branches out the mess for him to drag, he informed me he was done helping. Oh yeah? Think again. At five, he's old enough to help. So I told him that. He responded with whining and ended with the question, "But why do kids have to help? Why don't the grown-ups do it?"

"Because," I said. "You live in this house, so you help take care of this house."

My brother and sister are now thinking to themselves, "Geez, Kris. When did you turn into Dad?"

My father's stock response to our own whining about chores as children and teenagers was, "You live in this house, you work in this house." Obviously a lesson I internalized well.

Cubby dragged one more branch and then started claiming he was tired. My response to this was also less than sympathetic (mostly because I knew his exhaustion would vanish as soon as he was playing again and racing around like a whirling dervish). "Daddy gets tired when he's working too, you know. But does he stop when he's tired? No. He finishes the job. And you will too. Drag one more branch and then you can play."

He did it. I suspect there will be no lasting physical effects from my enforced labor. Although in thirty years, he might find himself forcing his own children to do yard work and using the very same phrases he heard that day from me.

Family traditions are the best, aren't they?


Drew @ How To Cook Like Your Grandmother said...

For A -

Anonymous said...

Ha! We had a similar expression in my family. Mary in MN

Anonymous said...

Wait till they come home from college and find a pile of gravel in the driveway with two shovels. LD

FinnyKnits said...

Is that not the moment you've been waiting for? When you can trot out one of your folks' most loathed sayings on your own kids?

It's even more direct that "MY ROOF, MY RULES".

And apparently more effective.