For as long as I can remember my dad had been able to take a stack of wood and turn it into something useful or fun and often both. When I was in grade school, he built our chicken coop, and it held the hundred or so chicks that fostered my current affinity for such birds. He built us kids a treehouse, remodeled several actual houses, and constructed a tower that allowed one to climb about 25 feet up to the first and only zip line in our neighborhood. During my high school years he changed an attic space into a real room so his daughters no longer had to share. And when one of those daughters needed somewhere to put all the books she’d collected, he built a set of cases that still stand in my home today.
On all of these projects and many more I stood by his side handing him tools and hardware, holding boards, and fetching tall glasses of tea. I learned how to step up when I was needed and to step out of the way when I was not. This year though, it occurred to me that maybe I could do a little more and that if anyone could teach me how, it would be my dad. So, I took him a set of plans for a little something I wanted.
He nodded and smiled and took me to the hardware store. A couple of hours and several cuts later, we had a pile of pieces ready for the next step.
He’s not used to working around the constraints of naptime but I think he handled the whole “Let’s stop until tomorrow.” thing pretty well.
The next day, we worked together again. Not me handing him stuff but really working together. (I know because when my mom came to check on us she brought two strawberry shakes, and it is a well known fact that if someone brings you a drink when you’re building something then you are, in fact, one of the workers and not just a sidekick.)
By the end of the day I knew how to use the saw and the drill press. I’d learned a trick for cutting wood templates instead of measuring everything. I also got a great memory to tuck away for later …. and a yummy, strawberry shake.
My kiddos got a new sleeping arrangement.
*Want to build your own? You can find the plans for these toddler bunk beds right here.
*Special thanks to my niece who took several of these great picture while I was working.