Last night my son asked if he could use my sewing machine. He was wanting to repair his book bag that has torn in a couple of places from the heavy load it carries every day.
"Do you need some help?" I asked as he headed for the basement.
"No. I took Home Ec, remember?" he called back on his way downstairs.
A few minutes later he came back up. "Well, maybe I need a refresher!" he admitted sheepishly.
I joined him at the sewing machine and proceeded to demonstrate all the switches and levers, then left him alone at the helm.
Earlier that evening I had come home to the smell of peanut butter cookies filling the kitchen, baked by my son and his friend while I was still at the school. Later on, he stood at the sink and washed the bowl and cookie sheet without giving it a second thought, regardless of the fact that his friend had told him that washing dishes was "women's work."
In our house there is no gender delegated work. My son does dishes and laundry; my daughter works outside with sheep. I mow the yard and dig in the dirt and my husband cooks a meal. We cross all kinds of lines to help each other and make our home work and that is a lesson I want my children to take with them when they're grown and on their own.
Though I've joked that my son is a 'husband in the making', I know that he will be a better - and happier - man if he is willing to step outside of what is expected of him and step up to embrace a new approach.
He bounces around the house, his 6'1" frame stretching up to touch an invisible rim in each door jam he passes. His appetite is insatiable, his energy, unmatched. Yet though he is definitely all 'boy' on the outside, I know that within him resides a gentle spirit that will serve him well in becoming not just a great man....but a wonderful person.