Head Jar Opener · 11 April 2008

Opening jars is something that only my kids can do. Of course, they first try to get me to help them by asking, “Dad, can you open this jar for me?” I usually say that I will try. Then after a couple futile efforts, I give it back to them and they show me how easily they can get it open. I think that the only reason they ask me to try is to humiliate me. This tradition started with Thing 1. He always wanted pickles and he always wanted to open the new jar. So at about five years old, he became the Head Jar Opener.

I thought about Thing 1 opening jars when Thing 2 asked me to open a jar for him. At the time, Thing 2 was six, a little older than Thing 1 was when he became the Head Jar Opener. Unlike Thing 1, Thing 2 thinks that I actually loosen the jars for him. Thing 1 knew that I was just too weak and that he just needed a little rest to get the jar open so he let me try just in case he had loosened it up enough to make me feel good about opening a jar. I do not know where Thing 2 got the idea that I loosen the lids.

When Thing 2 asked me to open a jar of relish, I was taken back in time to when Thing 1 was asking me to open pickle jars and I got a bit sad that my oldest boy was growing up. Thing 1 was almost a teenager and even then did not need my help for much of anything anymore. He opened most of his own new pickle jars and I even now rarely get the chance to try.

I wonder sometimes if Thing 1 is ready to give up the mantle of Head Jar Opener. I know that he remembers opening jars because when he asked me to help him one day, I tried and tried but could not get it open. Then he did it with ease. He smiled a little and the adolescent trying to be an adult turned into a child again. His smile told me that he had just remembered a fond memory and I got to travel back in time.

Perhaps it is time that a tradition gets passed to the next child. Maybe together, Thing 1 and I can give Thing 2 the title of Head Jar Opener. Then later we can all give it to Thing 3. I know that it is a silly thing and that being the Head Jar Opener is not necessarily a position of great importance. But if it can make a teenager smile at a shared memory, then perhaps it is something that needs to be passed on. Perhaps the silly little things like being Head Jar Opener are not so silly at all but are moments that shape our lives. Maybe we all need to be Head Jar Openers sometime in our lives.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Published 21 August 2008 in The RiverCurrentNews


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