Last night was a fairly common night around the mythankfulboy household, with the exception that I took time to sit on the couch and watch two episodes of NCIS rather than doing things that needed doing. But, alas, I then got up and put laundry in and took B to Crossfit, etc. When I finally fell into bed, B came and sat in my desk chair and did the chalice lighting with me.
Me: What are you thankful for tonight?
B: Oh, the usual. My batting cage, and you for taking me to Crossfit and all the other stuff you do for me. What are you thankful for?
M: A short week of work, and being able to count on you to do a list of things I leave for you on days you’re home when I’m not. I really appreciate that.
B: Momma, do you remember when I was little and I used to sit on the toilet and yell “Momma! Wipe!”
This was a bit of a surprising turn in the topic, and I laughed. I said “I do remember that. I’m surprised you remember that!” “I do,” he said. “I can’t believe you did that for me.” “Well Honey, of course I did that for you! You were my baby and you needed help!”
Then he said, “I’m glad I won’t have to do that.”
Then I said, “Um, excuse me?”
Then he said, “Well, I just mean, I mean, you know, I mean that, well, I will have different responsibilities.”
At least he had the good sense to stammer over that unenlightened reply.
I said, “Honey, you will have the same responsibilities as your partner. You may divide some things up around the house, but when it comes to your kids, the responsibilities will be the same. You will wipe tushies and clean up vomit and stay up nights when they won’t sleep. It’s just part of it. And if I do my job well, you won’t think twice about it, because you will love them so much, and you will honor your partner so much, that you wouldn’t think of passing off such important responsibilities to someone else.”
Quiet. Then, “Well, Dad didn’t change my diaper did he?”
I said, a little more gently, “Yes, your dad did. And he did all the other stuff, too. Because he loves you.”
“But he didn’t do as much as you, did he?”
I admitted, “Well, you got me there, but he did do it, and you will, too.”
“Ok, momma. I will.”
I said, “I know you will, Darlin. That’s the kind of man you will be.”
B is very aware of what needs to be done and how hard I work. I don’t think it’s because I hit him over the head with it; I think it’s because it’s just the two of us and so he sees it all, and he sees when it doesn’t get done, too. He recently commented that, now that he was older, he was more help than a burden. I never, ever want him to feel like a burden. I do, though, want to directly teach that there is work to be done in a household, in a relationship, in a community, and the work is shared. That he has a responsibility to participate and to leave things better than he found them, and that that responsibility extends to people. I know it’s my job, and it’s part of my living faith, to teach him these things. Thank goodness he’s listening.