Sunday, March 6, 2011

Observations of Role Reversal and Aging

Instead of whipping back to the frozen tundra after our dress shopping extravaganza, the daughter and I, detoured to the home town for the night. Dad had to help with the cows and of course that meant I wanted to go. Early the next morning Dad and I headed out into the hills to feed, water and check for newborn calves. There wasn't a lot to do; just 2 round bales, chop water holes in 2 ponds, get the calves out of the shelter, count head, see who is making bag, that sort of thing. We got into the tractor to take the bales out and realized we had no knife to cut the myriad of string on the bales. All we had was the axe to chop the water holes. So, Dad, a better tractor driver than me got that role. I got the axe. When we arrived at the feeding locations I jumped out of the tractor and took the axe to the bale. Chop, chop, chop. Not so good at cutting string with a dull axe and a springy bale. Then on to the ponds where Dad would again hand me the axe to chop out the holes. He stood to the side with a shovel and would scoop out the ice pieces so that it froze over slower. That's when I realized our roles had reversed. I don't know when it happened. The last I remember, Dad would have chopped the holes. Dad would have swung the axe to cut the strings. I would have been the helper. Now I am the strong one. He is the helper. I am the one who wields the axe and jumps in and out checking the cows. It's weird to say.....I am the strong one. I have never felt like I had equal power with my father and now I feel bizarrely elevated. He is still my dad and I will always respect that but when you grow up in a home where the father is the end all be all you feel intimidated; sort of like a shrinking violet. To have my father hand over the axe, stand aside as I worked, and not ask for it back or show me how I did it wrong is unnerving in many ways. The axe has been passed.