The Saturday started out simple enough, my wife went to work early and I was to spend the entire day with the kids. What I have to mention is that we were in the middle of totally renovating our home, the second one in several years, we hadn’t learned the first time. Every room in our home was in some phase of construction, most were totally destroyed. The only two rooms that were done were both our children’s bedrooms.
So here I am at the beginning of what many would hope to be a restful weekend, well not here. I am always driven to try and spend as much time with my children whenever possible, I have seen life fly by and never really wanted to miss a second of their lives. The dilemma was this, spend quality time with my son and daughter or pick a project and get going. The project list was just way too long, there was no way of getting away from it, so I gave in and started to decide what and where.
The closet in our master bedroom was going to have to be ripped out before anything else could happen, so upstairs I went with the tools, you really didn’t have to carry any tools because they were every where, you could basically reach down and pull some tool up. I hated that, wherever you were there were tools and debris, dust and wood, just stuff from construction.
I had to include the kids, this was the only way to justify me working. I called them up and laid out the game plan, we were going to rip down the plaster walls of the closet, we would have to cover up the bed, clothes and whatever else there was in the room. So we got to work, they were really gung-ho, actually doing what I asked.
I started to smash at the walls, 50 year old dust flying everywhere, insulation hanging in the air, and to my right two little faces staring at me like, “Have you forgotten about us?”. I didn’t forget, I just wanted to get the heavy work done fast, but I knew this answer wouldn’t do. They were outfitted with goggles, gloves and stuffed animals. My daughter, 7 years old at the time, really did some damage to the walls, my 5 year old son could barely hold the hammer aloft but he hit that wall with all his skinny might.
Several hours went by and I had to watch for the occasional teddy bear stuffed through the openings but we made progress. Normally I work by myself at my pace, anything that gets in the way or throws me off really sends me into a bad mood. I held it all in, the slow pace, the damage to other things, some tears, did I say the slow pace? While I was working I thought to myself of the many times my brother and I would start out on Saturday morning with my Dad on a project, only to be kicked out within literal minutes, this wasn’t once, it was many times. So for this I always tried to have the children work with me until they gave up out of boredom.
The lady of the house came home, we were feeling the glow of pride, she would be so excited to see the work we had done. First thing, besides noticing all the dust in the air, was that she said “You didn’t cover the bed or clothes?’. I forgotten to cover everything, in the haste to be the best father I had missed one crucial step. I did point out that we had done this together, painstakingly slow, but we did it. We had the dusty evidence to prove it. The room was now unlivable, we cleaned up and slept downstairs.
After seeing all this, my wife was not mad, but rather glad at the closeness we showed, she even pitched in to help finish and clean.
I still look at the pictures we took that day, and we still will talk about it. I can remember our cat laying on our bed with the dust falling on him like dirty snow. These are memories that most of us do not take the time to work on or allow to happen. The thing of it is, I have my own contracting business, and these jobs could be done quickly and easily, but some of these projects scream “Get the family and start working!”.
Times like these do not come every day, we cannot wait for them to happen or plan for them. When they are there we usually take notice but push them away, I try to embrace them because these are the real gems of my life.