I have taken on a babysitting job. Sort of. Three days a week, Kieran and I cross the street and walk down the gravel (and sometimes icy, sometimes snowy) driveway of our wonderful neighbors, Anna and Reggie. Those two crazy kids have allowed their daughter, Jordan, to have a puppy. And it is this puppy, Maya, who I am looking out for while her family is at work. Initially, I was not too keen when Reggie called to gauge my interest in puppysitting. I agreed to take care of her for the day. Well, that my friends, was all it took. I was hooked!
For taking such great care of Maya, Kieran and I sometimes reward ourselves by venturing just a bit further down the hill to the beach. Yesterday was one of those afternoons. Chilly, yes, but the wind wasn't blowing too badly. It didn't take much cajoling on Kieran's part to lure me down the path.
Kieran quickly got to work, breaking up ice in a small stream that meanders down into the ocean. Soon enough, he had me in on the act. With a tall stick, all four of our arms pumping up and down, breaking the ice, "making more water for the fish. We're helping the animals, Mom." Eventually, we each found our own ice-breaking tools (ie sticks). Kieran's enthusiasm for the task at hand was completely infectious. I've gotta say, I was really getting into it.
As I was whacking at the ice with my stick, and watching Kieran do the same, it got me thinking about children and the pleasure they take in their work. I love watching Kieran completely immerse himself in the task at hand. He so obviously adores making things and inventing new processes. Solving (sometimes bizarre) problems that he himself has devised. So much pleasure is involved. And as we were pounding away on that ice, I was thinking about my own relationship with work, and some of the work I used to do as a kid. The ant hospitals (don't ask) the yard sales, the news broadcasts (again, don't ask!). I traced my own work history, the kind that involves money, starting with blueberry raking, on up to adulthood. I thought about all the different kinds of work there are and how complicated our relationships with work can be. Kieran's own relationship with his work is extremely intense and important to him. He identifies himself as a "worker". I continue to respect and honor (at least most of the time) his relationship with his work as I can see it sparks his imagination and makes him feel important and proud. (Jeepers, that ice breaking really allows a person's mind to wander, doesn't it?!)
Kieran and I spent the better part of an hour chipping away, maneuvering ice chunks down the stream. It was a job well done.