Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Rescuing Dad
About ten days ago I was running errands a couple hours from home when my husband called to say the feed pickup quit him almost three miles from home, and the kids were at the house.
After the initial mom panic subsided, I reminded myself that at five and seven, they would be fine if dad took a little longer than planned to get home.
Come to find out, they were more than fine.
My husband decided to call them, and after leaving six messages for them to answer the phone, they picked up on his seventh call. He then asked our seven-year-old son if he could back the skid steer out of the shed, then back the side by side out of the shed, and come get him.
He also started walking home, because he knows our son, who is a very cautious machinery operator. He is far more likely to stop and quit three feet from a wall than to wipe anything out. A trait we are quite alright with as parents of a driving-infatuated kid.
I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to hear the kid’s conversation on how to tackle their dad’s request.
They both bundled up – it wasn’t a nice day— and went outside, where our five-year-old daughter guided our son in backing the skid steer out of the shed. In recounting the story, she proudly told me she made sure he stopped before he backed into the 4455 tractor.
Next, they worked together to back the side by side out of the shed. Then, both hopped in and drove 27 miles-per-hour across the pasture, where they met their father as he reached the first gate. About half to three-quarters of a mile from where he started.
And, just like that, my husband was paid back, with dividends, for all the time he has spent letting our son creep around the yard in the skid steer. For randomly having a pallet for him to pick up and move as he goes. For assuring me that letting both kids learn to drive the side by side is probably the cheapest and closest option to driving an actual vehicle.
It is not always easy to take your kids along when they’re little. In all actuality, it often makes the job more difficult. It is usually a lot easier to just do the task at hand rather than taking the time to show little people how each individual part works, and why, and how, and what does this do, and what about that, and can we do it again, and again, and let’s honk the horn for the 500th time, randomly rev the engine, turn off the key, and so on.
But, as our own parents know, and as we chant to ourselves under our breath at times, it is more than worth it, and both we and our kids will see the value of that time spent for our respective lifetimes.
Perhaps, on a cold, windy feed day when the pickup quits three miles from home.