mardi, février 23, 2010

I can do it myself...

Everyone who has had a child recalls those toddler years, when children push the boundaries of their circumscribed worlds.
Standing up. Bringing a fork brimming with potatoes to one's mouth. Putting on a sneaker.

Each task becomes an occasion for celebration of a kid's mastery over her or his world. And then, of course, there is the illusion that he or she is autonomous. That's one that many adult still bask in until illness or some other crisis challenges it.

I can do it myself, Dad! My fork!

But the fact is, they don't have the experience to know what is safe, and what is not, what they can do, and what might better left to the old folks. That's even one that teens find it hard to grasp. My boyfriend! My car!

Although I'm clearly no longer a toddler (no, I am not) I still sometimes wonder if I'm not taking on jobs that might better be done by others. Not housecleaning, no worries about that. I'll take all the help that I can get. And I paid someone to help me organize my kitchen, living room and bathroom so that when sellers come through they might be able to see themselves living here, rather than a crazy writer lady and her two eccentric kids.

But why won't I let the young man across the street mow my more than an acre of old farmland?

Why do I take such pride in living in a town that many people around Philadelphia simply haven't heard of? Why am do I chuckle inside when the physical therapist says : I know you'll be back, Elizabeth. You push yourself too hard?

Do you have arenas in your own life where you simply don't wish to ask for assistance? Do you still get a cheap thrill out of doing something on your own, when maybe someone could give you a hand?

I dunno why I have this rebel streak. But I did ask a realtor to see if my possible new house has a ghost. Ghosts, you can't control. And what if it was an eerie visitor with an authority problem? I've got all that I can manage with the kids -- and meself.

2 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

This is an interesting post, Elizabeth. The "I can do it myself" syndrome (I'm with you - and on strange tasks, not necessarily the expected.)

I think it has a great deal to do with how we are raised, and the importance of independence in the array of approved skills and traitss in the household. I think some of it is regional as well. And "contextual."

If you grow up with gardeners and house cleaners, it's no big deal (often) to "expect" that when you're out on your own - especially if you're working outside the home AND parenting. But if you grow up in a "do it all yourself" environment, it seems odd to pay someone else to do your "chores."

I think it's odder for women than men, personally. But that just may be my experience.

Opens some intriguing lines of thought.

dadshouse a dit…

I do it all myself! I'm a single dad. I have no family here. What are my options?

I remember my first girlfriend post-divorce helped me pick out a jacket at the store, and it brought me to tears that someone actually cared enough to help. It is nice when others help out, but it just doesn't happen much for me.