When I was twelve years old, we got what I do believe is the largest snow that I have ever seen. There were fourteen inches of snow on the ground. Every road in three counties had to be closed. It was obvious to everyone that we would not be leaving our house for quiet sometime.
Nevertheless, the man that he is, my dad drug my sister and I out of our warm, cozy house, to help shovel the snow out of our 300 foot driveway. So, we braved the bitter cold and shoveled snow and ice for more than two hours. Halfway, down the driveway, I asked my dad (for the thirtieth time) why we had to shovel snow when we couldn’t go anywhere.
He took a deep breath, shoved his shovel into the snow, and then turned to look at me. I will never forget his reply.
He said “Jessica, there may come a day in your life when you don’t have a man around to take care of you. You might need to know how to do some things for yourself.”
Then, he turned around and began to shovel again. We finished shoveling, without saying another word.
In the years that would follow, my dad taught me to do a lot of things for myself. When I was in middle school he taught me how to mow the grass and build a barn. When I got my driver’s license, he taught me how to change a flat tire, the oil and the spark plugs. When I moved out and got my own place, he taught me how to check the breaker box for blown fuses. With every new lesson, I reminded him that my only goal in life was to be well married so that I didn’t have to do any of “this stuff” for myself.
Fast forward more years than I care to acknowledge….I achieved my goal. I am well married. But dad also managed to achieve his goal. The husband that I swore I would depend on for everything spends four nights a week away from home on business. So, I am left here to tend to all of the things that he does not have time to take care of.
I pay somebody to change my oil. However, I write the checks that pay them, so I do claim partial credit for that job! But, there are several things that I take care of on my own. In the last week alone, I fixed the knob on the back door when it came loose and cut the grass in the front yard. I also hung a new shelf, unclogged a drain and captured a mouse that had moved into my laundry room. Go me!
I will probably never see the purpose of shoveling snow when you can’t go anywhere. But, I must admit that I am thankful for the other lessons that he taught me. I am a capable, independent woman. I can keep things running smoothly at my house while my husband is gone. I can survive in a crisis if I have to. I will probably even teach my girls to do these things, just in case they ever have to.
But if you see my dad…..please don’t tell him I said that. I still complain about shoveling snow sometimes!