Embracing Responsibility

January 16, 2011
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It started with a pair of steps. Four gnarled and unfamiliar steps indirectly proved to be the cause of one of the most trying struggles in my life by far: learning to embrace responsibility. About a week after my family had been hastily uprooted from our short lived home in Illinois to Conecticut; I received an even greater shock from the last place I would have imagined, the hospital. While I was away at school, my father, in an attempt to take my dog Gimli out for a walk was unceremoniously pulled down those four mocking steps, rupturing his left quadricept muscle in three places.
Imagine my surprise, when I called my parents after school to ask to be picked up, and learned that that they were in the hospital of all places, and that the poor dogs were probably baking like potatoes in the backyard at home. As I commenced the long walk home that day, I reflected upon the implications of what would happen to our family now that my dad was no longer there to help support it. Little did I know that almost all the responsibility he had once wielded was now mine, for better or for worse.

The influx of chores came shortly after his injury like wave after wave of a hurricane, the eye still to come. I began to take full responsibility over the four dogs, picking up after them, and taking care of the placement of their toys to make sure they always had something to keep them entertained. To add onto all this pressure, I also had to take up vacuuming all the rooms, while my mother was away at work, as well as make sure that my schoolwork didn’t fall behind. This brusque transition may have come as a lighter blow if I had other siblings to help step up to the plate, but being an only child can have its negatives at times. While my father lay incapacitated, too painful for him to walk around yet, I brought him his food, water, books, games, and movies. All the stress overflowing from my current situation was finally starting to boil over, leading me to learn one thing in particular.

It was weeks into the healing process of my dad’s quadriceps and the doctor had requested that he remain in the cast for another 6 weeks. All of my stress and tension I felt began to divide me from my parents and spilled onto the battlefield, launching a full blown war.

The words cascaded out of my mouth before I could stop them. Finally, I was letting loose the speech that had been searing the back of my mind like a scalding iron for weeks. Twisting my countenance into that of determination, I asked my parents, burning passion cackling to life in my eyes, “Have you ever considered the amount of pressure I have been under since we have moved here?” This simple question arose to form an intense argument, my parents and I sparring like deadly warriors locked in a beautiful battle of language, each verbal blow intensifying the magnitude of the next. The battle had been long fought when I laid down my sword in defeat, my parents firmly holding the position that it was time that I matured a little and embraced these responsibilities.
After this fight ended in a strict punishment for my troubles, I began to see a new dawn over the horizon. This fight had lead to more than just punishment, but to my epiphany as well. If my parents did not think me capable enough to handle all these new found responsibilities, then my mother would be taking up more of the burden as well. In essence, I was finally mature enough to embrace these tasks like an adult would, uncomplaining and dutiful. My parents hadn’t expected an argument from me at all, explaining the reason for the strict punishment quite well. Maybe, in a sense, this was the time in my life where “loss of innocence” digs its fierce, experienced talons into my soul; causing that abrupt change in nature we may call maturity.
With this new knowledge in hand, I set out on my quest to improve the attitude I had displayed in my duties that brought me such pain before. It gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment to complete my tasks, now that I realize that my parents have trusted me to play a criticathee interworking of the house. My house runs much like a clock; it only works if all the cogs mesh together. I am one of those cogs, diligently working to accomplish the feats needed to keep the clock functioning properly, and the cog that once partly belonged to my father.
Now that I have begun to catch up on all the school work I missed, I have established a smooth routine: including aspects of the dogs, my father, and homework in an equal balance. The eye of the storm has come to settle in a swirling vortex that seems to encompass my home, making it a palace of peace, and a kingdom overflowing with mutual respect for one another. Like any kingdom, we do have our battles, but in the end peace is restored.





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