The Seed is In There (Cooperation, Making family life work)

Tonight, she finished dinner and promptly took her dish to the kitchen and plopped it by the sink. I very calmly asked her to wash it and put it in the dishwasher. She didn’t resist. Just did it.

Moments later, she walked up to me as I finished my meal…

Her – “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

I was a little taken aback but seized the opportunity

Me – “Yes, you could finish clearing up the table in the TV area.”

She headed off to do it, and I wondered what was going on. Why the sudden demonstration of helpfulness? Sadly, I wondered if she was going to link it to some request for using the tablet more or a dessert, but I kept quiet. Instead, I noted how despite having done dozens of things for her and our kid friends who had been over all day today and yesterday, just this small bit of helpfulness on her part seemed to make it all worth it. I thought about how many relationships out there are starving because one partner doesn’t understand that just a simple show of appreciation and effort would go a long way.

By now, I had finished and started to get up. But she rushed over

Her – “No, no. Daddy, I’ll get your plate.”

Still, I wondered if she was setting me up for an ask. I kept quiet, though, wanting to see if it was genuine.

And, it was. She never did ask for anything.

When I asked why she had voluntarily been so helpful, she just said…

Her – “I thought about it, and I decided I want to.”

I’d like to think that she had a great day and that she saw the many efforts I made for her and her pals. Or, maybe it’s that those conversations I’ve had with her about families working together and not leaving it all for me made a difference. Who knows?

At bed time, I expressed my gratitude…

Me – “You taking a little time to help like that made me feel very appreciated – my time and the things I do. Thank you.”

Her – “You’re welcome.”

And, I understand that tomorrow will be more “pick up your…” conversations with wrappers, crumbs, toys and shoes. But just knowing that this seed is in there makes it seem okay.

Well, a little more okay.

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