“I’m done!” I announced with a heavy sigh. “Just let me know when you are going to break them down and I’ll come over to help.”
Dad turned away from his computer. He had offered to help me dispose of some cardboard boxes that had piled up in my basement. Considering how much I loathe fighting with dirty, dusty boxes while trying to break them down, I jumped at the offer. Of course, I still had to drag them from the basement and unload them once I got to my parents’, but at least I was getting rid of them.
“That’s ok, honey. I’ll take care of it,” Dad said in response to my counter-offer of help. I think he could hear the reluctance in my voice.
“I can help. It might be good for me to get a little dirty again.” I looked down at my clothes covered in dust and cringed. “I really don’t like getting dirty.” Ugh… I thought to myself, when did I become such a prissy little thing?
Dad was almost speechless. Almost. “I- I thought I raised my girls better than that!!” he cried. “What about our trips to the cabin and nature hikes and Scout training and survival training? I did raise you better than to be afraid of a little dirt!”
“Excuse me, sir? You forget I didn’t learn any of that outdoors-y stuff.”
“How did you not learn any of it? You were there!”
“I was there, but by the time I was old enough for your survival lessons, I had to help with the little kids or help Mom in the kitchen.” I don’t begrudge the fact that I wasn’t schooled in the outdoor world because I was washing dishes; I just wish my family would recognize that my experience (and Rosario’s) was different than that of my siblings. I didn’t learn how to track animals, build a campfire, chop and stack wood, identify edible plants, etc. I suppose I could have gone off to join the lessons once my chores were done, but it was too difficult trying to find them in the brush. I contented myself with books until they returned.
Dad was flabbergasted at this revelation. “Well, it’s time we changed that!” He started to get excited and accented every word: “Cecilia! We’re gonna – we’re gonna have Survival / Boy Scout / Girl Scout training!
“Oh! Yes! We! Are!” Dad’s eyes were gleaming with torturous glee. “You are going to learn how to survive in the wilderness and you are going to get dirty!”
“I don’t want to survive in the wilderness. I don’t need to get dirty!” Dad ignored my protests and went on with his plans.
“You will learn to chop wood and build a fire and use a compass…”
I suppose at some point this summer I will have to humor the old man. Maybe I can distract him with extensive questions regarding the compass training – which I wouldn’t mind since I love directions – and we won’t have time for the wood chopping stuff…
In the meantime, Dad promised I could help break down the cardboard boxes I brought over. I think he wants me to get used to dirty work before he throws me into the wilderness.