We gutted an entire house once without a plan. We weren’t entirely sure how we were going to put it all back together, but we had a vision, coupled with a whole lot of faith, and did it.
After we gutted the house, I spent the next year working as a full-time carpenter. In addition to learning how to install headers, joists, insulation, framing, drywall and flooring, I learned how construction is like life, and how you have to take it one project at a time or it will completely overwhelm you.
It was while I was rebuilding the fireplace, laying brick and framing a new surround, I conceived the idea for my own HGTV show. I laughed at both the concept and the title, “Design on the Fly.” For that’s what I was doing, designing and building as I went along.
The fireplace and my “Design on the Fly” program are on my mind, because dealing with what comes along, as it comes along, is the theme of the day. For I am writing this in my car while Ted is inside applying for his first job. I could be beside myself with anxiety, but I am not. Instead, I have the top down and am thankful for a sunny, breezy, 72 degree day. I am thankful that Ted feels ready to take this step back into the world. He has had a lot of challenges with his experiences in the world.
When I think back on his years in school I see a boxing match. You know how the boxer is in the ring and battles it out with all he has, then the bell rings and he goes to his corner. He sits down on that little stool, has a drink, his trainer fusses over him, tending to any wounds, towelling him off, giving him tips, strategies for the next round. Then after a short break the bell rings again and the boxer returns to the center of the ring to box more.
Well K-12 was a 12-round boxing match, with Ted as the boxer and me as his coach. Ted came out the victor, but he was pretty banged up.
He’s rested now and as he takes his first step into the adult world it is my sincerest wish the analogy I use to one day describe the result of this step will NOT be a boxing match. I hope he finds a comfortable place in the world where he can learn about being part of a community. A supportive community, where his talent is recognized and rewarded with both compensation to support himself financially and emotionally.
Positive recognition of talent and ability motivates us all and I want Ted to be motivated. Moreover, I want Ted to experience what it feels like to fit in.
I began this post thinking about “Design on the Fly” which also could be a show for motherhood. You bring a baby into this world but you don’t know all the details of the design just yet. Rather, you design the details as the child grows. I have this expression with construction projects, “I build, I evaluate, I adjust.” I think this could be applied to childrearing as well.
In construction, as in life, you do the best you can, giving each project you take on a full measure of care and consideration.
The fireplace and the lake house came out beyond anything we could have imagined, and Ted, well, he is my piece de resistance.
So here’s to Ted on the day he applied for his first job. He is taking action to chart his own course, to live the life HE wants. I simply couldn’t let this milestone go unheralded.