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.