Friday, November 28, 2008

Starting Them Young

Thanksgiving. What a blast. I love the food and the fun. It is, for the most part, a wonderful time each year. But, it is not necessarily Thanksgiving that I wish to talk to you all about today.

Today I would like to talk about the day before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Eve. Yeah, it’s lame. I know. More specifically, I want to talk about something that happened this Thanksgiving Eve.

Before I go into that I would like to tell you about one of my daughter’s favorite things to do. She likes to walk through the house talking in an automated-type voice. She says, “I am a robot and I am here to disturb you.” Keep that in mind while you read. That statement, in and of itself, is disturbing.

Now, onto Thanksgiving Eve.

Upon arriving home on Wednesday my children went outside and I went in to the kitchen where my wife, Catherine, was preparing the turkey—her first. I’m sure she’ll remember her first time. Ba-dum-bum. Come on guys. Cut me some slack.

I looked out the kitchen window and what do I see? Guess. Okay, you’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. I saw my seven-year-old daughter digging a hole with my shovel.

“What is she doing?” I asked my wife and then proceeded to head outside. I stopped near my daughter, mindful of how wide she was swinging the shovel as she tossed the dirt around the yard. “Chloe, can you put my shovel up?”

“I’m digging a hole, Daddy.”

“I know that, Sweetheart—I don’t want holes in the middle of the yard. So, let’s put the shovel away.”

She stopped digging long enough to look up at me and say, “Daddy, this is my grave yard and I’m digging graves for my animals.”

I stood silent for a minute as she went back to digging her hole—she actually did a really good job with it, too. Finally, I turned around and walked away, not sure what else to say at that moment. I went inside, no longer interested in the turkey but more preoccupied with staring out the window at my daughter and son.

“So, why is she digging holes?” Catherine asked.

“She’s not digging holes—they’re graves. And have you seen Pouncer?”

“Umm . . . no,” she said.

Pouncer, by the way, is our cat of eight years. I stood at the window as Chloe dug holes and my son, Logan, who is three, stood near her. After each hole was dug Chloe placed an animal shaped sand toy in each one. Logan then covered the animals and patted them down with the shovel while Chloe searched out bricks from a fire pit Catherine had made so we could roast marshmallows outside.

“Our back yard is turning into a toy graveyard,” I said as my wife seasoned the turkey.

Finally, Logan grew tired of planting toys in the ground and he said, “I’m done.” He came inside and my daughter finished the chore at hand. I walked outside and stood near the center of the yard. There were small mounds all over. Bricks sat either on or by the mounds. My daughter was placing her last brick in place.

“Hello, sir,” she said to me. “Would you like to take a tour of my pet cemetery?”

Just for the record, there is a difference between a regular every day tour and a grand tour. As my daughter has informed me, a tour is just where someone shows you things you can’t touch. A grand tour is where you can touch the items and do all sorts of fun things.

“Sure, I’ll take the tour of your pet cemetery.”

She takes me by the hand like a morbid mortician and leads me along a path of blocks and mounds. She told me which animals were in which graves.

“This one is a flamingo. That is a penguin. That is a seahorse. Over there is a lion and her baby. Poor baby.”

We came to the end of the tour and I looked down at my daughter in something that I guess was amazement. It may have been shock, but I am not sure. I do know one thing is certain, if she would have done her robot voice she would have succeeded in disturbing me.

“That is . . . very interesting . . . Sweetheart.” It was all I could think to say at the moment.

Chloe looked up at me with her eyes bright and her smile beaming from ear to ear. “Come back anytime, Sir—I’m always burying something.”

Honey, have you seen Pouncer?

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