After a tremendously long morning at work, I walked upstairs to find my wife making Mac ‘n Cheese for lunch and the sound of a running circular saw. Thankfully, the oldest kid was not the source of the noise. My father in law was beginning construction on a new addition to the play house in the backyard.
We have discussed adding on to the playground for some time, but in the “one day” tone that so often fills conversations held by tired parents. After seeing the massive playgrounds of our Wyoming road trip, my father in law got a bit of a creative bug. He takes that old Nike slogan to heart and just does it.
Last night he showed up in our driveway with a truck bed full of lumber; 2x4s and 4x4s stacked five high and five wide. “This should cover the north side addition,” he said with no hint of a joke.
Yesterday was a rough day. My mother in law had an out patient surgery that left her quite out of it. It left my father in law without his rock and it was probably the most humanizing experience I’ve ever seen in him.
He needed a distraction, something to keep his mind busy while the family’s matriarch recovered. He does not idle well and sees the world in figures and problems that need to be solved; so he went to solve a problem.
I am lucky enough to have two very strong fathers to take lessons from. My own father who I often find myself saying “how would dad tackle this?” And trust me, teenage me would not be amused. And my father in law who, well, let’s say he has a different approach to the world than my dad. Two very strong and proud men that could lead nations if they gave a flying fu….fudge rocket.
As soon as my mom gets sick, or my mother in law has surgery, these two idols of mine lose their minds in the best possible way. I do it too. My wife gets sick and I suddenly forget the purpose of pharmacies. The house devolves into a Mad Max hellscape within a few hours and the boys and I have to hunt our dinner.
I don’t want to word it this way, but seeing my father in law so riddled with concern was actually reassuring. He’s not exactly an emotional guy, but we all knew why the lumber showed up. Thirty years from now when my wife gets sick, my world might still stop and my head will spin. Then I’ll go bug the boys and their partners and build something in the middle of work day too. It’s the circle of parenting.
New play ground project posts coming up soon too. Should be fun.