a gift

My dad works with his hands.

His job, for a very large office furniture company (Herman Miller), is Model Maker.  Simply put, the designers create new visions of chairs and desks and partitions and other office furniture things and my dad makes work models.  He takes their vision and makes them into something tangible.

From there, he works with the designers to get out the “bugs” before anything can go to production.

My dad has always worked with his hands.

Not only can he–in my mind–fix anything, but he can create things too.

When he had children, he made us blocks.

When my parents finally replaced their 1970’s TV which had it’s own metal, rolling stand to hold it, my dad created cabinets out of oak for the new TV and for my mom’s stereo.

When my brother was being potty trained, he built him a bathroom stool.

When I decided in elementary school that I wanted to paint little wooden animals, he made me some.

When my mom wanted a shelf in the bathroom for her nicknacks, he made it and hung it.

When my brothers needed big boy beds, my dad designed and built them bunk beds.

And there has been more.

That is why, when it was time for Eddie to move out of the nursery and into a Big Boy bed, I asked my dad if he would mind making bunk beds for my boys.

I knew it was a big thing to ask.

Yes, he has made them before, but it’s not something you just whip up on a free weekend.  It takes a LONG time.  Especially since my dad is a perfectionist.

But he said yes.

And proceeded to cut down the tree for the type of wood he wanted to use.

That’s right, he didn’t go to the lumber yard or to Lowes for wood, he chopped it down and dried it himself.

I told you, he’s a perfectionist.

He started the whole process this past fall.  Last Sunday after months of work, most of which was recounted step by step to my mother, he was done..  My patient wonderful mother.

The past few months were filled with measurement double-checks and stain choices…until finally we got the big reveal.

fuzzy because I had a toddler moving me around.

He came over and put together one of the bunks for the bunk beds.  Of course, we only need one right now.

But he had a surprise for us.

After all those months of asking questions and buying new tools and machines just for the bed-making, he managed to add a little something.

Yup, my dad did that.

Cort saw it first as my dad was putting the bed together.

“Oh wow,” he uttered softly.

I was like, “what??”

And then I saw it.

And then the tears burned in my eyes.

My dad kept working at putting the bed together without saying much.

After they left, I ran my fingers over the letters.

I thought about how my kids sleep in the beds he made for my brothers when they stay at grandpa and grandma’s house.  And someday, God willing, when Eddie and Charlie’s kids stay at our house, they can sleep in beds with their dads’ names on them.

My dad isn’t just making beds.  He is making family heirlooms.

Something that we will have for always even when we are all gone.  Something for my boys to have.  And their kids.

bed made by my dad, quilt and matching pillows made by Cort's grandma Sluiter

My dad isn’t finished with Charlie’s bunk yet, and I told him  he could take some time off since we have a while.

He said, “Oh, I was planning to.  I have other things on my To Do list for a bit.”  Then he chuckled.

Because he’s awesome like that.

He takes the duty of “Grandpa” to his three grandsons very seriously.

Well, not too seriously.  He was the one, after all, who taught me nothing in life should be taken too seriously.

Thank you, dad.  For this gift you have created with your hands.

It is beautiful.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Oh I just love that little touch. So much love.

    Lucky, lucky Eddie and Charlie. Lucky, lucky you.

  2. Love it!
    Now I want one too!
    And who knew people made things anymore? I thought everything came from Ikea.
    p.s. Great post!

  3. Beautiful! We have bunches of antiques thru the house that I just adore. My dad refinished an old old changing table from probably the 20s and turned it into a microwave stand for our kitchen. It’s amazing. I have a bathroom stool my grandfather made me when I was little. It has my name on the top too.

    That bed is so sweet. Eddie will cherish it, and always have a reminder of his grandpa with him. 🙂

  4. That is just so unbelievably awesome. What a treasure.

  5. This post brought me to tears.The bed is beautiful and that extra touch just breathtaking

  6. OH MY WOW! That is so beautiful! What wonderful lasting memories!

  7. Beautiful, Beautiful family treasure! What a blessing!

  8. This post made me tear up. The bed is fantastic but you really got me when I imaginged Eddie and Charlies kids sleeping in their dad’s beds. And your dad always made me laugh. I still remember his “dancing” in the living room to the Monkees. 🙂

  9. This is absolutely perfect. What a wonderful heirloom to have and keep. And to imagine the generations still to come… awww. 🙂

  10. Oh, that is just too sweet. I’m a bit teary-eyed over here, too. Your dad sounds like a wonderful, wonderful man. XOXO

  11. awwwwww! what a beautiful gift! i can’t believe he chopped the tree down himself, your dad is one amazing guy.

  12. What a wonderful gift; filled with love and – now – history. Love it.

  13. that is beautiful. Beautiful post. Beautiful bed. I have tears in my eyes. You are a very lucky woman!!!

    God bless you and your family!

  14. Oh, I love that bed! Makes me a little teary, and it’s not my dad or bed or anything! 🙂 What a treasure!

  15. It’s beautiful. Bobby’s dad made a cedar toy chest for Noah, and we have a quilt my mom and Meemaw made him; those are both so special and absolutely priceless.

  16. Thats incredible and generous. Also, I super puffy heart love Herman miller. I collect their mid century pieces.

  17. Your dad reminds me of mine ~ he too could build anything. What a precious gift from your dad ~ his love built that bed and that is priceless!

  18. I had tears in my eyes reading this, so beautiful so meaningful. My cousin made quilts for my girls when they were born (quilts aren’t very popular here in Ireland) with their birth details on them, I burst in tears when I saw them; when a gift comes straight from the heart it means so much more, you’re boys have a very clever grandpa!

  19. Tina McLarty says

    Sigh. That is just precious. And now I wish my dad was still here to build things for his grandson. Ok, I wish he were here for other reasons too.. 🙂 Anyway, I love your dad’s sweet gesture.

  20. That is absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful keepsake and story to go along with it.

  21. Tears. That is beautiful. The whole thing. Your post, the bed, the memories. Just beautiful.

  22. How wonderful! I teared up when I saw Eddie’s name. You’re right. These are more than just a piece of furniture. They’re family heirlooms to last generations.

  23. My dad works with his hands as well. He spent 30 years as an industrial arts (now, as you know, technology education) teacher. We have the most gorgeous granddaughter clock that he built, and a mini adirondack chair with our son (engraved with his name). I bet our dads would have lots of talking to do. You dad does amazing work – I can appreciate your love of his craftmanship. So special!!!!

  24. I might have cried just a little when I read this. What an amazing gift.

  25. That brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful gift, filled with so much love.

  26. that is SOO special! Solo’s bed is hand made too. So sweet :0)

  27. Handmade gifts are always the best. What a very special bed.