First Victory. Shoveling the Snow

This winter offered us, Robert’s parents, many opportunity to clear our driveway from snow.  We had all kinds of snow from light, fluffy, but more than a foot high to thin, soaked with rain, and very heavy.  Our driveway, placed between two retaining walls, is now surrounded by tall mounds of shoveled snow.  In previous years, from time to time, we asked Robert to help.  He was not thrilled.  With a lot of nagging, he moved a shovel a few times in varied directions and left.  We didn’t mind.  After all, with Robert outside, the shoveling took more energy and more time.

This year, however, Jan and I, made it our goal to teach Robert how to help his aging parents.  But to do so, we had to plan well. The expectation should be clear. Jan and I had to divide our responsibilities. Every time we wanted Robert to help, I went outside first to prepare the work station for him. I made a path parallel to the retaining wall, two – three feet away from it.   Jan had more difficult job to do.  He had to convince Robert to dress warmly and help us. That took a lot of persuasions, enticing, and even bribing. Nonetheless, Jan managed and Robert was ready to help.

But to the point.

The first time, we asked Robert to push the snow toward the side of the driveway only ten times.   He was not happy , but he did it.  Then he went home.  After 15 minutes, Jan brought him back and asked Robert to do the same thing again.  Robert did that as I counted to ten. Then, left in a hurry. Probably, he  didn’t want to give us a chance to ask him again.

It had to be said, that although we paid some attention to Robert when he was working, we didn’t provide constant support. Jan was removing frozen snow from the street end of the driveway, I worked on the other side. We all had our own jobs to do.  I think, that was an important part, as it helped Robert on his path to independence later on.

The second time, Jan persuaded Robert to come and help just as I finished the “work station” digging again the path two feet away from one side of the driveway. This time, we asked Robert to push the snow all the way from the home to the street. We didn’t have to count, nonetheless the goal was clear.  Robert stopped a few times, but encouraged to go on, he finished that job.

The third time, he not only finished his assignment (the same as before) but “assisted” his father” in cleaning the car.  It was rather chaotic endeavor, and I did not think much about it, until today…

This morning, we had around 6 inches of snow.  It wasn’t heavy, and it wasn’t fluffy.  Just right for shoveling. I made a path, yet again.  Robert and Jan came sooner than I expected.  Jan gave him a broom and Robert independently and diligently swept all the snow from the car.  without any help from his father who as always went to deal with the icy snow at the street side.  After Robert finished with the car, he removed all the snow between the path I had just finished making and the mounds of snow on one side of the driveway.  This time he was throwing the snow high, on top of the mounds.  When he was done, we encouraged him to go home and rest, but he didn’t want to.  As long as we, his parents, were working, he had to be with us.  He scrubbed the ice off the car, removed the remaining snow on one side of the car, and looked around to find what else had to be done.

Like the captain of the ship, Robert had to be the last to leave his post.  Only when Jan and I entered home, Robert assembled all the shovels in a right way (Not like we did it, which was obviously wrong.), closed the garage door, and came home.