Feb 17, 2014 0 Share


The author's son shoveling snow in driveway.
Photo by Julie van der Poel

Cameron has had a rather interesting week. It began last weekend with a visit to see his dad in Atlanta. Always fun. Cameron was very much looking forward to the coming week upon return from his trip. He had a school dance to attend on Thursday evening. Friday was scheduled to be a half-day of school, which meant Cameron had a free afternoon, and intended to spend it at Dave and Buster’s. Saturday was the second scheduled monthly gathering of the Smithsonian’s All Access Club Cameron recently joined. And of course there was work to look forward to on Friday and Saturday nights. Cameron loves his weekends with his father, but is anxious to get back to work when he has missed a weekend due to a visit. It’s not often that Cameron expresses being excited about coming events, but he was definitely expressive about looking forward to all last week’s scheduled activities.

But all did not go according to plan. Trouble started during the wee hours of Tuesday morning when Cameron awoke with a horrible stomach bug. I cannot remember the last time Cameron was sick to his stomach. I know he must have still been a toddler, so this illness caught Cameron completely unaware. Nothing keeps Cameron down for long however, and he was raring to go back to school on Wednesday. (I was even a little glad he had this experience with a stomach bug, because now he’ll be more prepared if it happens when he’s living away from home.)

Thursday brought us a snow day. School was canceled, and thus the dance was postponed. Friday brought more snow and another snow day. The All Access Club was canceled for Saturday because of the weather. Suddenly, a highly-anticipated week turned into a boring old week at home.

But Cameron did not complain one bit. When asked to shovel a path down the driveway, he shoveled the entire driveway. It took him over 2 hours, and it’s back-breaking work. Though our driveway is short, we have a 4-foot high retaining wall running along both sides for most of its length. Cameron was heaving shovels full of wet, heavy snow up over his head to clear the wall. I watched in amazement at his stamina. While he would certainly never set any speed records for clearing snow, he never gave up. We only had to give Cameron a task, and he set about doing it.

On Sunday, I asked Cameron to clear a path on our deck and stairs so that the dogs would have an easier time getting to the backyard. I thought with the melting that had taken place over the past few days, the snow removal would be an easier job. I was wrong. The melting and subsequent refreezing had resulted in a thick layer of ice. My husband and I were both giving Cameron instructions intended to make the job easier. I noticed that Cameron had a difficult time following our instructions. Had he been left to it on his own, he would’ve gotten the job done, but he would probably still be out there, working away. I hope that Cameron’s reluctance to accept direction was more based on who was delivering the direction, as opposed to his ability to understand and adapt to direction. If I were a manager and had to spend as much time giving instruction as I did giving the deck-clearing instructions … well, let’s just say, Cameron would not be up for employee of the month.

I’m glad that Cameron exhibited flexibility when his highly-anticipated plans were altered due to illness and weather. I do wish he’d been a little more receptive to instructions, but his ability to stick to a task (regardless of if he’s doing it most efficiently) is impressive. All in all, I’d say Cameron handled the “snowbound” situation better than I did.