“Daddy, Daddy, me help you! Pleeeease?” The tiny child tugs on her father’s arm, her blonde curls bouncing and her blue eyes wide and pleading.
He stops on his way to the tool shed and looks down at his daughter. Her excitement is infectious, and his heart melts, even though he knows his simple task will now take twice as long. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the look of sheer joy on her face as he nods.
“All right then, sweetheart, climb aboard and let’s find our tools.” He lifts her up on his shoulders and bears her away, squealing with delight.
The tool shed is cool and dark – a contrast to the glaring sun.
The little girl prances around, demanding, “We need this, Daddy? Do we need this?” for just about everything.
Finally, he disentangles himself and pulls out a heavy shovel.
“I carry that!” she offers, with ignorant confidence in her own ability. Jokingly, he lets her try to lift it.
“Here, why don’t you ride in the wheelbarrow, instead?” he suggests, laughing at her futile attempts.
In she clambers, chattering away self-importantly, honestly believing that “Daddy couldn’t get along without her.”
He pushes her around the house and tips her out onto the grass, tickling her and listening to her belly laugh.
“Stop, stop! We work to do,” she reminds him earnestly.
“Right you are. Now, where do you think we should dig the holes?”
She scrunches up her chubby face, pondering the question. “Right…here,” she decides, pointing to the ground beside her.
“Begonias survive best in shady places. So wouldn’t they be better near the house, were they will be protected from the sun?”
She pouts, “Fine…”
“Here, why don’t you help me step on the shovel?”
Together they push down into the soft earth. She rides the shovel, laughing as it disappears into the dirt.
So they do it again and again, till the garden is full of holes, and both of them are tired and dirty.
“Me worked hard!” the mite announces with satisfaction as she toddles behind her father.
He does not contradict her, but smilingly hangs up the tools. As he locks the door she slips her tiny hand into his and asks,
~ Ilana Reimer