scrapping you children’s childhood
March 4, 2008 3 Comments
You see, he is thirteen now and the Ralph Lauren Denim faux finish that I had on the accent wall and beneath the leather chair rail with the accented belt loops from worn out jeans was no longer appropriate. It made no matter that I hand painted every double stitch line between the 24″ sections of perceived fabric. It was inconsequential that I outlined each outlet and switch plate to look like a pocket on the back of your most comfortable pair of Levi’s. Oh did I forget to mention that I made a loft bed for him, with a desk/workspace underbelly, from scratch out of lumber that I hand selected, sanded, and stained from our local home improvement emporium.
The agreed idea was that we would go with a lounge/skate shop/industrial type feel.
I got started with the prep work. He and I cleared out his room of everything that would be in the way of the overhaul. Then I ordered some diamond plate-like material as a wanes-coating and selected some colors for the walls. I made the adjustment to the built in wall unit crap collector to better fit his 1080p action. Then I purchased some of “this” and some of “that” to get me going. So I covered up the walls that I labored over years prior, with white primer to clear the pallet and then I painfully cut his bed in half horizontally to give it a lower, couchy, loft beddy feel.
As I was carrying the wooden debris out to the garage, I started to have one of those tear jerking dad moments when you realize a few inevitable truths. Truths like, my son is growing up, I am getting older, having kids is expensive, my son is no longer my child, and sawdust is a great excuse to hide the reason for your tears when someone asks you why your eyes are watering.
I looked at the pile of wood and had a Ty Pennington moment. There seemed to be enough timber to make something out of and I remembered that my son said that he wanted a coffee table in his room. So I took apart the remaining pieces and started to nail, glue, and mold them into said table. I sanded away some scratches, filled some holes, and refinished a few sections. I went trough some old magazines and pictures that he had laying around and dressed it up a bit. I was careful not to refinish it too good because some of the distress in it gave it character and insured that it would stand out as a focal point in the room. I stained it and coated it and “ta da”…. a table. It had imperfections, but they were acceptable to me because the result was pleasing to my mind and eyes.
As a Dadologist, I know that I must look deeper into my craftiness to see what the true family lesson was. I had to see if I learned anything other than ‘don’t stain a coffee table in your favorite basketball shorts’ or ‘spray glue stays on your hands for a minimum of 3 days whether you like it or not’.
Well, here is what I figured out.
1. The white walls, that are about to be painted, are the clean slate of this season of my sons life. Unlike his earlier years, his input is required. He helps choose the colors and the theme, as well as aid in the application and take ownership in the finished product. This is very similar to his upcoming life decisions. He will know that I will be there to help if he needs me, but what his life looks like is up to him.
2. The half of the bed that we saved represents the fundamentals in life that are still of value to him, regardless of his age. My assistance was still greatly needed for the power tool portion, but he was able to help with the tape measure and the decision of how much to cut off. Again, it was his suggestion and my assistance. I was there to help him by watching over his decision and insuring that he was making the right choice based on my experience. He was setting himself up to learn how to “make the bed that he would have to lie in”…literally.
3. Finally, the coffee table. This was my favorite analogy/lesson of the project. All of the stuff that I initially thought was disposable actually remained in my sons life. It actually wound up as the center piece. Kinda like the efforts that I put into raising him to this point of his life. Good or bad, the selections still linger. Regardless of signs of wear or care. There it is. It is a testament of time and effort spent. It is a reminder of triumphs and failures. It is a product of prudence. It is proof that every moment and effort spent can be useful in your child’s life.
You see, to me, the “scrap wood” represented the things in my life that I thought no longer had an impact on my sons life. When in reality, they live on in him and will continue to be significant for him in the future. My initial efforts in parenting are continuing to pay off in ways that I would have never thought of, unless his needs changed like they did. I payed attention to him as he grew and changed and I made adjustments to my original plan so that I could remain relevant to his.
It may have been a stretch to ask you to consider this blog to be a family life lesson. I just didn’t know of any other way to describe the joy I get when I see him relaxing, with his feet up, on the table I made for him.
A table that was built from HIS past, that gives him comfort and stability for HIS future.