Domestication Day

This story is about the day that my father decided to domesticate me.  He took it upon himself to teach me to grocery shop, do the laundry and cook dinner all in one fell swoop.

“You and I are spending the day together Saturday,” my father announces. He is not using his fun adventure voice.

“Are we going salmon fishing?”

He laughs, says he wants to spend the day with me because—now that I am ten—it is high time I become domesticated.

Domesticated? I am an unchained outdoor girl with about as much interest in learning how to mop the floor as I have in getting a tooth pulled. My mother’s life looks like pure drudgery, and I relish adventurous times with my father who encourages me to swim in the deep end, ride my bike with no hands, and sing in a loud voice. I am a vilda chayala, a wild animal, as my grandmother aptly describes me.

“The whole day?” The management of daily life is surely not my calling.

Saturday morning he sits at the head of the table, clears away toast crumbs and eggshell remnants. Mom—all business—sets his newly refreshed coffee mug by his right hand. Close enough so that it is within reach, but not so close that an unexpected swipe would knock it over. Daddy, who sees with his hands, carefully walks his fingers across the surface of the table and then up the side of the mug to find the handle. He brings it to his mouth, slurps.

“We’re leaving for the grocery store in ten minutes.”

My father is on a mission. He plans to teach me to grocery shop, do the laundry, and cook dinner. All before the sun goes down. I glance over at my mother, who is wiping counters. She is exceptionally quiet this morning, and her eyes are unwilling to meet mine. This is when I begin to wonder if this domestic triathlon was her idea.

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