21 Mar Slice of Life: Spirit of the Law #SOL19 #TWTBlog
I press my body against the truck to hold the door shut as my mom struggles to snap the lock closed. Just as I hear the click of the lock, I hear the squeaking of tires turning into my driveway. I turn my head to confirm what I hear. I look at my mom. We both push on the doors to make sure they are securely closed. My dad pulls into the garage, turns off the car, and makes his way out of the car. I watch his face for signals of what he is thinking and how he might react. His eyes dart between the U-Haul, my mom, and me. No words are spoken as we each hold our ground in the driveway. Finally, my dad shakes his head, mumbles something under his breath, and heads into the house briefcase in hand. My mom and I exchange knowing looks as we share a quiet victorious giggle. She then breaks the silence and calls to my dad, “You won’t have to carry a thing.”
My father had a rule. If you were going to pack it, you needed to carry it yourself. This was true of my luggage on vacations, supplies on camping trips, and even for moving into my college dorm. To this day, whenever someone offers to help me with my bags, I instinctually say, “No, I’ve got it” in fear of not living up to my father’s expectation.
I often wonder why my dad had this rule. Did he just not want to carry my stuff? Was he trying to teach me a bigger life lesson? Was it random? Thing is, there wasn’t much about my dad that was random. He was decisive and clear in his actions and intent. While I never had the chance to ask him why, I do find myself wondering about this rule often. Maybe he was trying to teach me that less is more. Maybe he was trying to teach me to be self -reliant. Maybe he was trying to teach me to be organized and prepared. Maybe he just didn’t want to have to deal with a lot of stuff.
This memory of my mom and I renting a U-Haul to take me to college my senior year is one that comes to mind often when I think about this rule. She too lived with the rule. We knew I needed to bring furniture, rugs, lamps and such to college since I was renting a house with my friends. My dad kind of transformed the number of bags you can carry rule to the size of the vehicle you could pack in rule. We knew it would never all fit in our car. I remember gearing up to talk to my dad and try to convince him to rent a larger vehicle. I had done the research, saved money to pay for it, and devised a plan to get it packed and unpacked – without his help. I also remembering my mom telling me we were just going to do it, “Sometimes, Clare, less is more and some things are better left unsaid.”
Maybe they are both right. Less is more. It is up to one’s own
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