“If you do the Pittsburgh tournament, you can only do one event, because the entry fee is so high. But if you wait until June and do the D.C. tournament, you can compete in as many events as you want. D.C. has one price for everything.” I explained tournament economics as carefully as I could to a preteen who’s never bought anything more expensive than a birthday present for her brother, then waited for her to make the more cost-effective choice. She didn’t.
“I’ll do Pittsburgh.”
“You will? You understand that I can’t pay for both? If you do Pittsburgh, you can’t do D.C. – unless you pay for it.”
“Then I’ll wash more cars to pay for it,” she answered in a tone that implied I had somehow managed to miss her obvious solution and should be ashamed of myself. I watched my smiling daughter grab her towel and head for the shower, wondering who or what had taken over the body of my youngest child.
Only two weeks have passed since I told her she’s now the official family car wash, and I’ll pay her a couple of times a month for this specific job, while the remainder of her clean-up detail would still be just chores. She agreed without complaint but looked worried. After all, it’s work; and she doesn’t like work. She tried to console herself with talk of expanding her comic book collection with her pay.
Now, with her first paid foray with the sponge and hose just days away, the worried look has been replaced by a smile, a fist pump and a desire to wash the car more often than it needs – all because her father’s difficulty getting a day off from work forced her to come to a tournament she wasn’t supposed to attend. Once there, she wound up competing, placing and wanting a shot at a higher medal.
I’ve always said that God has an interesting sense of humor, and this was definitely a punch line that I didn’t see coming. But I’ll take it, happily – along with a very clean car!