Do you happen to have a busy household with adult children still living at home with you? Perhaps you have grandchildren living with you as well? I do, and I find myself wondering at times how we manage to make it work. To give you an idea of what my household looks like in regard to the number and diversity of the occupants, imagine that you have a birds eye view of my house as if you were a bird flying over it. You can be any bird you like. As you fly over my house, with the weight of the world below you, your birds eye view would reveal that there are four different people from three different generations living under one roof. And the three adult persons all work doing very different jobs. One person is a project manager, one person is a singer, and one person is a writer. The adorable wee little one that actually runs the house, truth be know, has a job too. She’s busy being a two year old. What you can’t see from your birds eye view is that we have two other adult children who are grown and living on their own far from our nest. Therefore, we have a half full nest. I think that what makes our half full nest work is that we have infinite unconditional love for one another and another ingredient. It’s called true family teamwork. Last weekend, I happened to catch a glimpse of our teamwork in action, and it revolved around, and as my kids call him, Dad’s coat.
Bill had been outside working on the house. The work he is doing is A monumental TASK To say the least.
He’s completely overhauling the outside of the house, a house that had been neglected by the previous owners. After years of being exposed to humid and wet weather, the old, cedar plank siding with its random splits across each plank and warped edges that curl up, and that have become home to some small lizards, is being removed and replaced single handedly by Bill with new siding meant to withstand Florida’s humid subtropical climate. The windows are also coming out, one by one, and are being replaced with impact resistant windows. Soon we will have a house that will be more energy efficient, and it will be protected from most of Mother Nature’s unpredictable forces. At this time in our lives together, I can’t claim fame to any of the tremendous amount of work being done on the house due to a bad back and another issue that has come up recently.
I feel awful that I can’t help like I used to. Of course, there are things that I can do like hand him tools, help with clean up and other various tasks, but I can’t help with the heavy lifting. Luckily, with Kim still living at home, he has help! Even though we have our challenges as a family, we sure know how to work together. When Bill needs help with lifting or with other tasks that I can’t do, Kim steps in and helps. In the meantime, I watch our granddaughter. At other times, we simply offer one another help.
That is what happened a few days ago when I noticed something special.
It was a gloomy and dark day. Puffy rain clouds loomed overhead. Despite the weather, Bill worked outside. He was busy measuring, cutting and nailing on the new siding. At one point, I was outside with him for a little bit. I helped him as much as I could, and then I got really cold because it had started to rain. My fingers and my toes started to feel numb from the cold, damp soil, and I had become chilled from the wet rainfall. Bill said, “Go inside. It’s too cold.” I told him that he needed to go inside too. He replied with, “No. I’ll be okay. I’ll come in in in a little bit. Go inside Stace.” I decided to go ahead and head back inside the house but with hesitation because I knew he was cold as well and was getting wet. When I got inside, Kim approached me and asked, “Does Dad have his coat on?” I said, “I think so.” I hadn’t actually paid much attention to what he was wearing because when I had initially gone outside it wasn’t raining. I told her that if she went to the patio outback she would be able to see him and would be able to see if he had on his coat or not. Somehow, we both got distracted and continued on about our business. I made a fresh pot of coffee, and Kim tended to her little one.
Not long after, I decided to go back outside and check on Bill. I hadn’t been outside for more than a few minutes when I saw Kim walk up to us with a busy toddler Running along beside her.
She had Bill’s coat in her hand. She reached out to give it to him and said, “Dad, you need to put your coat on. It’s too cold out here. You’re getting wet. You’re going to get sick.” He said he was fine, but he took it from her and put it on. As he put it on, he turned away from us and started to once again work on applying the siding as he had been before Kim gave him his coat. There he was: my man; wet from the rainfall, the kids dad, and the grandkids grandpa working outside on a rainy day trying to fix a house in need of repair and trying to provide a comfortable and safe shelter for his family. And he had his coat on, and he was protected as much as possible from the rain. True family teamwork was alive and well that day. And somehow, I caught a glimpse of it in action. If you were a bird flying over your house, what positive action would you see?