My wish happened

Friday, August 9, 2013

Yes, it happened. Some of my faithful readers might remember that sometime near Mother's Day I wrote a column stating that the greatest gift I could receive instead of clothes or pretty things for the house would be for all our kids to come spend a day helping out around the house. It was read by at least one of our children. This weekend it happened.

Our son Mark, his wife, Joan, and their grandson Carter came up from Plano, Texas, and joined our other three children, Michael, Shirley and Susan, who all live near here. It was not for just a day, but they spent a whole weekend working, but still having fun with each other (and us). Joan had the responsibility of choosing the colors, and the rest did the labor of painting our guest room and bath and the cathedral ceilings in our living/dining/kitchen area where some leaks had stained the ceilings.

We had prioritized the work to be done so that when the time ran out there would be no job left half-done for us to deal with. In spite of that there weren't many complaints when I asked if maybe there would be enough paint left to do the ceiling in the main bathroom where there had also been some leaks.

Part of the original plan was that these work days would eliminate the need for any future gifts this year. I think it worked out well that the workday was schedule.

AFTER both Mother's and Father's Days, my birthday, and our anniversary. The only gifting day left this year, except Christmas, is Lester's birthday in October. I swear I didn't choose the dates. They were selected to fit in with our Texans' abilities to meet their own job and family responsibilities. As it was, their visit had to be shortened unexpectedly due to a professional commitment that arose. But they got the work done and left with green stains on neat running shorts and T's, and only a little green smear on the upholstery of their car.

Maybe you guessed that the rooms were painted green. The weekend wasn't sunny and bright and the planned for pond party following the day of work couldn't happen because it rained almost all weekend. That was not a help at all for the painting because the humidity made the use of fans impractical and the windows couldn't be opened. Thank heavens for air conditioning, but four people working in a medium-sized room created quite a bit of heat in spite of the AC working overtime.

My job through all of this was to watch, listen, laugh and comment. Lester retreated for a while to his office and computer, and once took a short nap in the main bedroom amid all the stuff that had been moved out of the guest room. But we both enjoyed seeing all our kids together with the added enjoyment of 18- month-old Carter exploring everything in our soggy lawn and thinking all the displacement of furniture was for his benefit to have new places and things to examine. Our 30-something grandson, Michael, also joined in for several hours of work and shared some of his expertise from his construction job.

We even had a little time during one break to all sit down together and have a real conversation. That is always a treat.

If anyone happens to remember my original offer in the column, I said that when it was over I would take them all out for supper. That was changed to sending over to Deerfield for take-out because none of us looked very presentable to go to a restaurant, and there was still work to do the next day.

We are very proud of our fresh green rooms and unstained ceilings, but what makes us the most proud is that our four kids would arrange a weekend to be together, to help us and could have a good time doing it. It will be a very good memory for me. I hope it will be for the four of them. I do think it will stay green for them.