Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8: Summer of Boys

It's Sunday morning; in less than a week we'll have picked up the new member of our family, our exchange student Silas. Partially as a result, we've been working very hard on some house projects lately, and the odd side effect of that focus has been some wonderful family times.

My 'family of origin' was light on money and heavy on projects which were, therefore, fueled by our own muscle power and time. We all joke now about how we complained and whined and moaned at the time but now romanticize that life--stacking wood, shoveling, weeding the garden, even getting in hay and cleaning chicken pens. I've noticed the same pattern in my current family's life: the boys will moan and complain when we pick a day to rake leaves or put in screens, but then they'll say, "Remember how we always used to. . . " and the memory is whine-free.

So when Andy and I planned to refloor the den and paint my study ivory instead of pink for Silas's sojourn, I expected the same pattern. Imagine my shock when

it didn't happen.

The boys have been fun! They have volunteered to join in and work! They have moved from one project to the next without having to be rooted out of the corners where they might hide. . . I even heard Lyle telling a friend that he was sorry he couldn't make it to the friend's party last night because "I don't have a ride"--which he did, in fact.

I attribute a huge amount of their enthusiasm to the intense effect of homedecoration on a run down room, but also to the addition of a ROPE SWING to our front yard. After working for a bit, they'll slide out to the front and swing for awhile, Lyle boosting Nate onto the seat, or Nate pushing Lyle. There have been a few bumps and bruises, and there's certainly been fine-tuning of the swing itself, but overall, the swing has added serenity and fun to our work for this summer. Paint a bit--swing. Clear moldy cardboard out of the cellar--swing. Do a good deal of family work that needs to get done--swing--then eat a terrific dinner of hot potato salad and free range tbone steaks on the deck and talk about what we want to do when Silas comes--swing some more--then collapse into bed. Great memories, minus the whining. Amazing.

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