When I was a kid, I idolized my Gramps. Growing up in a house with a single mother and a sister, Gramps was my male role model. I knew that he loved us unconditionally, I knew that he would always support us in whatever ways he could. I wanted to be like him, I wanted to be with him, and so I wanted to learn to help him do the things he always did for us around the house.

He taught me to sketch, he taught me to build things, he taught me how to drive a car and change a tire. When I moved out he gifted me a toolbox with all the things I would need for the basic stuff. I could bang a nail, drill a hole, use a saw, put Ikea furniture together with no instructions necessary.

In our house, when I moved home after college, I did a lot of the heavy lifting.

I knew from my mother’s example and my grandfather’s teacher that a woman could take care of anything in her home that needed to be done. And I believed I could.

And then I moved in with Joe.

Suddenly it was easier for him to carry the heavy stuff. When we work together to build something he gets frustrated and my feelings get hurt, so I leave him to it. I still hang pictures, but if a hole need to be drilled, that’s not for me.

Now sometimes it feels as though I barely do anything at all around the house. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I clean, sometimes I put on a load of laundry. But I don’t mow the lawn or plunge the toilet. I only empty the dishwasher and take out the garbage if he’s away and I have to.

(I really hate emptying the dishwasher, I don’t know why).

Part of me wants to get out in our garden and rip out the dead plants and stupid paving stones. I want to build that shelf I saved on Pinterest. I want to get dirty and fix stuff that needs it. I want to have the energy and faith that I used to have when I knew I had to do things on my own.

I want to fight my way back to being the girl who knew that she could, because her Gramps showed her how.

Me and my Gramps in Peggy’s Cove, 1990, Sketching


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