June 6, 2010
My house is a disaster. My daughter's inquisitiveness leaves my house looking like an abandoned shed after a tornado has passed through it, and I think she just found and ate an old piece of cheese that she earlier dropped on the floor.
I love to watch her, though. Sick as I am now, strep throat, runny nose, cough, and no energy to save the toilet paper roll from becoming completely unraveled, my watching has become more of an observation into the workings of her beautiful mind. For instance, for twenty minutes she empties our magazine bin by taking out one magazine at a time and placing it onto the floor. Once she has a stack there she takes each magazine, one at a time, and puts it into the drawer of our coffee table. When one falls out she does not get discouraged; she simply bends down, picks it up, and tries to place it back in the drawer. She puffs a little tiffle of breath when she bends down, her lips draw tightly together, and her eyes stay completely focused. She is completely focused. I imagine her satisfaction, her feeling of triumph, or maybe it's just a feeling of accomplishment. I, too, feel satisfied when the laundry is done or the carpets are clean. But it's the way that she creates her own chore, her own little work to be done, that makes me realize that we have all been doing this same thing our whole lives. We create our chores so that we can complete them and I guess, in essence, we like it. We humans like the doneness of doing things. What a busy folk we are.
When Arilyn graduates from the magazine business she'll move on to the shoe business (the one where she has to align all of the shoes in a row by the front door), and then she'll continue with the emptying of the toy box business (the one where she removes one by one each toy in her toy box only to return each one, without a pause, into the exact same container), and then when she gets a little older I imagine her organizing her closets and her dresser drawers and maybe fighting with me about the chores that I make her do until, finally, she becomes employed and gets paid for doing the chores of someone else, or she works for herself and gets double the satisfaction of creating and completing her own chores. And her greatest life's chore might come in the sound of a little coo or in the little tiffle of breath she hears when her own inquisitive tornado wisps around the rooms of her own house, because that, too, is a chore we choose because besides the obvious reasons of love, we also really like it.