Thursday, November 22, 2012

The glory of children: Go and wash the dishes, jerks!

I was going to try and talk about a corporate scammer of very good name that plays the Internet invoice scam.

WTF. If idiots actually believe they’ve signed on with a high-profile accommodation booking site, I can’t help them.

Instead, I’ll talk about the strange intersect between shit activities and family life.

I once gave up on a discussion about the washing up, when someone told me they regarded it as slavery – as something his children would never have to suffer. QED the dishwashing machine.

I own a dishwasher now, my fifth. Only one has ever been any damn good at the job – an ancient Vulcan that had to be ditched when spare parts became unavailable. Apart from that, each one has been, from the cheap to the “it costs HOW much?” have disappointed.

When our sons were young – younger than ten – Ms T and I stopped trying to find a dishwasher that pleased us, that didn’t demand a half-hour of pre-rinse and frequent “be nice to an appliance” routines, and reverted to hand-washing. There remains an unused machine of decent brand, taking up space because we can’t figure out how to remodel the kitchen.

Then she fell ill.

Sometime in the last two years, between me trying to earn an income between a chair in the corner of a hospital room, a home office that’s usually on the dining table, and wielding a mop-and-bucket in a Blue Mountains eco-tourism resort – and Ms T splitting her time between hospital, the kitchen because she loves to put meals on our table, the best chair in front of the TV when there’s cricket, and so on – where was I?

Oh yeah.

The boys took over the washing up.

I was at the Royal Prince Alfred, anytime I wasn’t fixing breakfast, preparing dinner (under Ms T’s instructions), working in the seat in the corner, or picking them up from schools.

Evenings, my two sons had to themselves, and they – not I – decided to assume the burden of washing up for themselves.

And that’s the way they kept it.

It’s a matter of pride for them: Ms T cooks meals (which when life is good I will set against any meal); I earn money; they help us keep things going.

And they’re proud of it. If we remind them that something wasn’t cleaned properly, it’s personal.

There are other things they do, without hope or expectation or reward, beyond their devotion to their mother.

And before anybody decides to create some kind of “ideal” out of them: I can assure you that in a great many situations, they would rate as “pain in the arse of the whole world”. They need a cattle-prod to actually undertake school or university work. They don’t understand the difference between “conversational emphasis” and “too fucking loud”. They spend too much time on games, much as I once spent too much time trying to perfect my skills as a drummer in the late 1970s.

And they are gifts, wonders, treasures that would blush if the ever notice how highly I regard them. If they don’t see this, they won’t blush. If they do? Fine by me. They deserve my admiration, and they have it.

Now, you loudmouth, game-obsessed, unscholarly lazy jerks: go and wash the dishes! :-)

We consider you two boys the unvarnished gold of our lives. You can live the shit-life of chemotherapy without cringing, will volunteer for things worse than mere dish-washing without flinching, will live the life of chronic illness without it even denting your savoir-faire. You are stronger than I could have been.

Please, in the outside world, can I account this as success as a father? Can Ms T and I believe we were good parents?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richard. I lost my beloved father 18mrhs ago. I'd wash a million dishes to see him smile again. I'd do a million more to help my mum cope with his loss. Cherish the bond with your kids. Rest assured, they do...