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Please, Let Me Help

Another big snow storm. It was the third in two weeks. Our goodwill toward each other was slipping away like a skier going downhill. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeves and I always have planned activities to do indoors in the winter. We had used them up quickly in the last two weeks. The children had gone to school for a day or two and then the next storm would hit. Overtime the streets got cleaned up and the driveways and sidewalks became walkable, the work was covered over by another few inches of thick heavy snow. Steve’s back hurt so much, he let me help a little. I noticed that he watched up and down the street while clearing the snow to insure he wasn’t embarrassed by getting some assistance. He sent me inside quickly if he thought one of the guys saw me.

I was over the pretense. Before the next snowfall slowed and he noticed it was time to go outside to clear our part of the sidewalk, I called the Moms tree. Years ago, my girlfriends and I had devised a system to share important information. You called the next person on the list we had created and that person called the next person in line. With one call, we could spread a lot of information quickly. I rang up Chloe and told her that before Steve went outside, I was going to start the snow removal and I invited her to do the same. She agreed to call the next mom and then I saw her outside a few minutes later digging into the snow and scooping it up. Chloe had good technique and made solid walls to clear her sidewalk. Gradually, I saw other women come out, some with kids, and start the process in front of their own homes. We were a mighty force. By the time the men noticed, the girls had removed a lot of snow. As each man come out of hibernation, his wife pointed out that all the women were outside. Some men laughed and realized what had happened. There were women outside who weren’t even on our call tree. I think they just came out to support our movement. When Steve came out and I asked him to look up and down the block, he chuckled to himself and disappeared. He came back with the broom and another shovel and we both finished the task together.

I went inside first to fix some hot cocoa and a snack for the children. For the two of us, I warmed some brandy. I will admit that my back hurt a little the next day, but some aspirin took away the pain quickly. I knew that my girlfriends and I hadn’t started any revolution, but I like to think that most of the men appreciated our effort. My expectations didn’t include any illusions about the men being comfortable with our working outside all the time but maybe there was room for us to help every now and then. Change is best accepted gradually, one shovel at at time.

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