The week before school started, things were getting tense in our little rental house. The kids had had enough of each other in close quarters, and we were all frustrated that one of the hottest summers in Texas history was also the summer we had to work outside everyday. Saturday morning, Andy walks in the front door to the sound of squabbling boys and plops a huge box at my 10-year-old’s man-sized feet.
“Put this together, Grant.” Andy suggested.
Grant’s eyes lit up and he ran to the garage to gather the tools he would need. I moseyed over to the box and glanced at the intended distraction.
A tow-behind spreader?
My eyes locked on Andy’s and they widened to question his sanity. Surely he wasn’t going to let a child assemble a piece of expensive equipment just to keep him busy…
I continued to stare as Grant ripped open the box looking very much like a kid on Christmas morning. He carefully laid out all the pieces and then set to reading the directions.
He’s definitely my child.
Andy doesn’t read directions. In Andy-world, if you need directions to put something together, you lack knowledge and creativity. And those left-over pieces at the end of the assembly? Just extras for those clumsy souls who drop screws and washers into oblivion.
I spend the next hour watching in awe as Grant assembles the apparatus and then drags it around the small living room testing his work. He straightens up, confident, and asks if there is anything else that needs constructed.
A few days later, we arrive at the farm after school and the sprinklers are running in the rain. This is an Andy-manufactured system, and it’s very new, so I of course have no idea how to turn it off. I announce this aloud in the truck, and Grant jumps out of the door. He runs across the upper pasture disappearing from sight. A minute later he is running back to the car.
“I scheduled it for a 48 hour rain delay.” he pants as he hops into the front seat.
“How?” I ask perplexed.
“There’s a controller near the shed.” he replies.
“I need to know how to work it.” I huff.
“No momma, I can always take care of it.” he soothes.
I grudgingly thank him as I am reminded once again that some of my responsibilities are being outsourced. This is normally a good thing. Every parent pines for the day when their children can lessen their workload. Lately however, I feel as if some of my duties are being taken over by my child because he fears they are too difficult for me.
I had to ask him to teach me to back-up the tractor with the trailer attached. A few nights ago, Andy had to get him out of bed to diagnose a problem with the Wii wiring. Here is an example of a common conversation with Grant.
“Can you please show me how you did that?” I ask
“I can take care of it momma.” he says.
“Ya know, someday you will have to go away to college and everything will break.” I push.
“I will go to the local college.” he promises.
“The local college doesn’t have a good engineering program.” I huff.
He sits quietly for a moment.
“I’ll teach Ian.” he announces.
My mouth drops open in offense.
“Ian is 4!” I grumble.
Later that week, while Grant is hunched over some new piece of equipment, I spot Ian kneeling patiently over his shoulder, watching.
“Can you pass me a screwdriver?” Grants asks.
As I move toward him to help, Ian reaches down and wraps his tiny hand around the nearest screwdriver. He hands it to Grant, who in turn instructs Ian on how to use it. I know I should be thrilled. But I can’t easily push away the feeling that I am being replaced. That my years of hard work making myself irreplaceable have been for not. I have been outsourced by cheaper, smaller workers.
Grant brought home a paper from school in which he wrote about why I am such a good mom. The normal sweet things were included, cooking, hugs, etc. At the bottom of the page he included that one of my best attributes was that I could drive the tractor. Considering that he taught me, I am not sure if I should be flattered or offended…
The house if a flutter of activity this week. Essentially everything has to get finished this week before the bank appraisal. The interior painting is finished, the tilers finish tomorrow. The granite goes in tomorrow. The air conditioning and electrical fixtures go in today. The septic guys and the propane guys will be installing tomorrow. The concrete guys are getting ready to pour the driveway and sidewalk. Later this week, the plumber does his magic with fixtures and toilets, the carpet is installed, the back porch gets finished, and the weekend will bring the painters back to stain the hardwood floors.
Porch posts still have to be painted
Family room fireplace
Guest bath tile