As my daughter, Anna, has gotten older her wings of independence have been extended ever wider.
No longer do her shoes need to be tied. I can’t remember the last time I had to cut up a piece of meat for Anna. Having to pick out her wardrobe for the day is a task that ended long ago. Inquiries regarding the completion of school assignments is typically met with a hiss of “I’ve got it under control.”
These signs of self-reliance are not unexpected. My wife, Nancy, and I witnessed the same steps of growth in Anna’s four older siblings.
Don’t get me wrong. As a parent you want to see your offspring grow into self-sufficient adults. Just ask any parent who still has a 35-year-old “child” that is content to be living in mom and dad’s basement.
Still, there are days when Anna’s flag of independence isn’t run quite so high up the flag pole.
One morning last week, after heading to the basement bathroom to get ready for school, Anna quickly appeared back up stairs.
“Mom. Could you help me with something?” purred Anna.
My dear bride, who long ago learned one never commits to such a sweet inquiry before knowing what it entails, responded that it depended on what Anna needed.
It turned out that my 17-year-old daughter had encountered a spider in the basement sink. And while Anna acknowledged that she is willing to take on small arachnids, based on her early description this one was at least the size of a Frisbee.
Anna is not the only Henley who has little use for spiders. The multi-legged creatures also give her older brother, Jacob, the willies. But on this day, Anna had found the right person for the job.
Nancy accompanied our daughter downstairs and used a shoe to dispatch the interloper, which was in fact about the size of a half-dollar, to arachnid heaven, much to Anna’s relief.
A couple of days later, it was Nancy’s turn to look for the right person for a job she had no desire to perform.
Periodically, a bird will find its way down our chimney flue. Typically it occurs in the spring when birds are looking for nesting sites. And because of the bird’s size, they are unable to fly back up and out. That leaves two options: (A) Just wait until the bird dies and then remove its remains; (B) Catch and release it.
And while my bride is willing to take on large spiders, when it comes to bird wrangling, it’s not something she chooses to do, especially if she can find someone else in the house to perform the chore. As you might suspect, that right person for the job is me. Although it’s not a duty I particularly relish, I’m more than pleased to make my wife happy.
Page 2 of 2 - Having gained experience corralling birds, I’ve learned it’s best to allow them to calm down a bit before going in. That lessens the likelihood of it shooting past me and escaping into the house, which always makes for a more thrilling roundup.
With Nancy using a flashlight to help me spot the location of the dark bird in our black fire place, I reach in with a gloved hand holding a bag in which to catch the creature.
Sometimes it can take minutes to maneuver a bird into a catchable corner. This bird, however, was particularly accommodating. With virtually no fluttering, it walked into a corner and essentially waited for me to grab it, which I did as gently as possible, so as not to damage a wing or leg.
With the bird safely returned to the wild, I accepted my wife’s thanks, satisfied that on this particular occasion, I was the right person for the job.