As with many families, life in our household tends to rush by in a blur of the daily tasks of getting the children to school and preschool, ferrying them to after-school activities, and of course work. Sometimes it feels as though we have absolutely no time left over to just stop and exist.
On the wall lives a large planner that looks over us and regiments who has to be where, on what day and at what time. Giving it the cursory once over, and with school holidays rapidly approaching, I noted a free day for the eldest boy and myself where we could have some quality father and son bonding time.
What could we do? Where could we go? Well, we could do something, but I decided we were not going anywhere. We were going to do some ‘building’ at home on our turf.
With that, I headed up into the loft (boarded out and great for storage) to check out the ‘parts bin’ to see what we had to play with, and found we had enough material to create something memorable and fun.
Come the day in question, I told N we needed to head up into the loft to retrieve some items, so off we bounced up the stairs and brought down the loft ladder. N went first, and as I watched him slowly disappear I could not help but notice how big he looked. The length of his body as he negotiated each rung; his arms and legs just seemed so, so long, and it made me realise how fast he was growing up, and how we needed to make and take these opportunities as often as we can.
The loft isn’t really a place he goes, so once inside his eyes widened and a smile started to spread across his lips. ‘Bike parts’ I heard a breathy, quiet voice say. And with that, I pointed him in the direction of where I’d amassed our challenge. Carefully, and with a twinkle in his eye, he passed back each item with a knowing look of what we were about to do.
Later, with the kitchen turned into our makeshift workshop (it was raining), with a sheet on the floor and a small table for a workbench, we toiled and toiled. He’d ask questions, I’d answer them as best I could. I’d make a pertinent point about something I was doing in the hope that he’d log it in his busy brain for future use.
For hours we cleaned each part, then squidged grease where necessary and lubricated before assembling our creation, and I watched proudly as N beavered away, immersed in his task. Then he did what all new seven year olds do – scarpered to do something else. I think he’d concentrated for an unbelievable run of about three hours without break, and so he headed off to read his new favourite book, Spy Dog, which he is currently devouring.
We made soup and a loaf to feed our hungry tums, and feeling suitably replenished we set about the last few nuts and bolts, and we were there. Finished! Before us stood a chrome bmx with black skyway wheels, and it was ours. Well, N’s but I’m sure we can share.
As I cleared away the tools and dirty cloths that lay strewn around (N had returned to Spy Dog’s world) I felt both happy and sad. Happy that we’d taken the time to build something together and for me to enjoy watching my boy growing up, but also sad that modern life is lived at such a frenetic pace that many families don’t get opportunity to spend time together.
Now, let’s scrub some of those events off the wall planner – there’s plenty more parts in the loft that need our attention!