Wearing our work glovesDec 07, 2023 11:47AM ● By Allison Eliason
All too often, the kids end up in the feed store or hardware store with dad. As they walk up and down the aisles helping dad shop for parts or tools or equipment for the ranch, they always seem to find something that they are so sure that they need. Dad usually does a pretty good job of saying no, but if there is enough justifying the need and telling him how much they promise to use it, he slowly gives in.
Some days I heartily roll my eyes at the purchase but there are some days when I nod my head with approval that it really was a good buy. It doesn’t happen very often, but there have been a few occasions that I start out with the usual sigh and eye roll but have my mind changed for me when I see there was a little wisdom to the purchase.
The most recent buy was for our four year old son, a boy that just can’t stand it when dad leaves him at home. He is at that magical stage where he soaks everything in and is growing faster than this momma heart can take. With all of his siblings already in school, the house is far too quiet and helping mom with the inside chores just isn’t fun enough. And when compared to what dad does, who can blame him? Dad knows he shouldn’t leave the house without him because he knows he will have to swing around to pick him up anyway.
Whatever they are doing on the ranch, our little boy wants to be in the middle of it, just like dad. If they are working in the shop, he needs his own tools. If they are working cows, he needs his own sorting stick. If they are moving cows, he needs his own 4wheeler, but finally compromises when dad says they can take turns driving his.
Heading with dad on a parts run to town, he saw on the shelves the one thing he didn’t have like dad and DESPERATELY needed- gloves. And he didn’t want the pair of cheap look alike gloves. He wanted real leather gloves like dad so he could “get to work” as he said it.
I usually consider buying gloves, good gloves, for a kid a bonehead move. Experience has taught me that they will last less than a week and then they will be done for. That new pair of gloves will be lost in the field or left out for the dog to chew and bury before they can be hardly worn out. It’s a better return on investment to dig a hole and put the money in the ground than to spend it on a pair of kid’s gloves. You at least know where the money is buried and have a pretty good chance of digging it back up. Finding a long lost glove requires more than a miracle.
Not to mention, that any time a kid is the proud owner of a pair of gloves, it is one more, or rather two more, things mom has to keep track of. Going out to work always starts with, “Mom, where are my gloves?” Mom tracking skills can rival any tracking device because it never depends on good service and is far more heavily motivated. Determined to avoid the potential meltdown over whatever is lost this time, a mom KNOWS how to find anything that needs tracking down. But the best way to avoid such a disaster is to not give them anything to lose in the first place. Which is why we just don’t buy gloves for kids...
So you can see why my initial reaction at buying a four year old boy a pair of gloves was the heavy scoff and eye roll. With his new gloves on, my little boy hurried off after dad for whatever the last of the day held in store for them. To my surprise, both gloves came home after work and were carefully put away.
The next day brought with it a promise of more work and those gloves were hurriedly put on. And brought back in for lunch, piled up by dad’s gloves while that little boy ate. And then they went out again and again. If ever they got left at home, there was always a mad dash back to the mudroom to find them because they were a crucial must have. That little boy started saying things like, “I gotta wear my gloves so I can build fence,” or “I need my gloves so I can carry those heavy woods,” or “I can only work hard in my gloves.”
Aside from noticing his cute way of saying things, I noticed how these silly gloves were doing so much more than just helping him look and feel like dad. They were empowering him to do things he hadn’t done before. They were like his Dumbo feather, giving him just the boost of confidence he needed to try something new. And he treated them with such special respect and care like they were his superpower.
Before I knew it, I was nodding my head with sure approval at the purchase of those tiny leather gloves that had seemed so frivolous, but had become the means of helping grow and shape my little boy.
And I wished that I could have a magic feather or little leather gloves that could help me fly to new heights.
Life can be hard, even at its best. We have responsibilities, duties and expectations that can be heavy and seem impossible to carry day after day. The constant battle of the challenges we face, whether they are just short term or for the long haul, can make us wary. But maybe not if we have on our work gloves, those little, seemingly insignificant things that inspire, empower and enable. With our little work gloves on, there isn’t any work we can’t accomplish if we just believe it.