While deeply absorbed at my desk earlier today I was roused abruptly by a series of thunderous, wall-shaking, floor-crashing noises. Once I had managed to fix my eyes open, and realizing that I was actually in my
“What happened?!,” I called out into the living room.
“Centipede,” one of my daughters casually responded. [Note to Midwest friends, centipedes have mandibles, which can inject painful, tissue-necrotizing venom into the unwary foot. The pain can last for hours. They occasionally show up in the house. Their bite is something you want to avoid.]
Centipede?, I reflected, and you didn’t yell for me to take it out with my shears or a hammer or a long kitchen knife? Turned out, she had repeatedly beaten the threatening creature with a hard-soled shoe until dead. She’s wiry, but strong, and probably missed a few times before finishing it off; hence, the noise.
I stood there for a moment, slack-jawed and speechless. Before, the girls had always called on me to handle centipede disabling and disposal duties. What just happened?, I pondered. Then, it struck me: My little girl had grown up!
Okay, admittedly, she’s been married for a couple of years to a good man and has a toddler, yet this was an unmistakable milestone of maturity, a point of passage from which there was no going back. No longer will she call for my heroics in moments of centipede crisis. Now she’ll be the one in cool command during centipede intruder battle. It will be she who will bring about house centipede doom, at least at times when her husband’s at work and I’m deeply immersed at my desk.
You know, you raise them the best you can and try to set a good example for them, and then all you can do is hope they’ll turn out all right. It’s instances like these that you finally get to see the rewards of your efforts.
I’m not ashamed to mention I experienced something I assume was some sort of emotion-related sensation, perhaps even a feeling, in seeing one of my babies pick up a shoe and carry on her heritage with the same focused, killer-attitude toward an invasive pest as I modeled in days of her youth. I’m just glad I was here when it happened.
The torch has been passed to a new generation.