March 31, 2008

Chore

Skater Boy was pretty young, maybe three or four, when he started coming over to our house. He lived, in those days, just next door which meant he didn't have to cross a street to go from his house to ours. He'd just show up. A tiny kid with a crewcut, he rarely said a word to me, but joined in with whatever the gang of kids in the house were doing. In late afternoon, when it was time for my kids to do their chores, I'd assign stuff to our extra kids, especially the ones old enough to actually do something helpful. I'd tell Skater Boy that his chore was to pet the cats.

He took this chore very seriously. When I'd walk from the kitchen to the living room, looking to see if Boy in Black was picking up the blocks or Croaky Voice was putting away the traintracks, I'd see Skater Boy sitting cross-legged on the floor with a cat on his lap. I'd ask, "Is everyone cleaning?" and he'd look up at me with serious eyes, "I'm petting a cat."

Skater Boy is sixteen now. He's still part of our household, even though he doesn't live next door. He comes snowboarding with us on Sundays in the winter, and on Saturday nights, you can find him in our living room sitting at the drum set or playing the guitar. His crewcut has been replaced by a mop of shaggy brown hair. But he still remembers the chore I assigned to him many years ago. Amidst all the noise and confusion in the house, which often includes me yelling at the teenagers to clean the kitchen or pick up their stuff, he'll sit for long minutes on the couch, patiently and gently petting a cat.

Boy and cat

11 comments:

Addy N. said...

I just love your stories like this one- how cool. And what a dreadful chore! ;)

Brigindo said...

That is one of my favorite chores. And what a lovely cat.

adjunct whore said...

this is very sweet--as usual, this suggests to me just why/how you've become a model mom of sorts to me.

and also as usual, i caught up reading your blog all at once: i hope your husband is feeling less pain and am sorry. it sounds awful and long.

Gawdess said...

a necessary chore indeed.

swissmiss said...

lovely chore

Yankee, Transferred said...

I'm glad he takes his work so seriously. Bodes well for the future.

kathy a. said...

very sweet.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I want that chore. And cat looks quite happy at the arrangement.

Silver Creek Mom said...

What a Wonderful young man. I love that you made him a Chore to do to fit in. I try that with Miranda and her boyfriend but she makes him sit down and she does it all. ????

Whatever. I tried.

Mona Buonanotte said...

He looks like an expert!

Lomagirl said...

I want to hang out at your house. And I want my house to be this kind of house, too. It isn't yet, not completely. I'm working on it.