JM: Every once in a while, as I’m creeping out the door early in the morning to work a few hours on the T-House O’Steel before I have to go to my real job, I’ll hear a small voice calling out of the darkness: “Daaaaaaaddy, don’t leeeeeeave!”
Breaks my heart every time.
So when I hear my 10-year-old pleading for me to stay home instead of letting me leave to work on the house that’s supposedly for the three of us, I have to ask myself, who am I building this for?
Every time someone asks me: “So, what are you going to do with that thing? Studio? Man cave? Dog house?”, my answer is always that I’m taking the “If you build it, they will come” approach, with the idea that it will be a home for my family, not just me. I’ll admit that the building of the T-House of Steel is an experiment. Living in it will be the second part of that experiment. And like any experiment, I’m not sure how it’ll go, ultimately.
The funny thing is that right now, in our little warren-like apartment in Beacon, NY, we are always finding ourselves in the same room, brushing our teeth together, or standing at the stove cooking (or doing gymnastics) together, or cuddled up on the couch together watching a movie.
The standing joke is, every time we find ourselves jammed up together in the same room, one of us, or altogether we’ll chime out “TINY HOME LIVING!!!” So when I see the way my daughter reacts to the way I describe how the loft space in the T-House is going to work, like in this video below, I’m thinking , “Look at her! She’s crazy about it!”
This weekend, I began working on the (steel, of course) beam that will span the length of the T-House of Steel which will have to support the three of us in the loft space (more on this later.) As I’m building it, I just know she’s going to love it up there. And that’s what keeps me going.
JC: Yes, our daughter is crazy about this experiment as am I!
And I think it’s also a good lesson for her, and for any kid (or adult, for that matter) in patience, giving her the sense that not everything happens, or is expected, instantly. In her life, school, for example, there’s a sense of urgency for completion that’s demanded by staff and teachers – “Finish your test, finish your homework, finish your lunch!” On her own, there’s always the desire for a new acquisition: “I need that toy now!” We try our best to manage these situations with words, discussions, arguments, debates.
But there’s nothing like seeing patience in real life. A project like the T-House is truly an experiment, on more levels than one. Sam and I see JM having to make lots of decisions about the design and execution of plans for the house building, some that turn out right, and some that don’t and need to be rethought, reworked, redone. The fact that he doesn’t give up, but rather works out the problem, is a huge and wonderful lesson.
With our T-House O’Steel, each part is uniquely built. There is no quick completion, no immediate gratification. Just, patience, combined with the long view that this will one day be something beautiful and worth the wait. It will be a place the three of us can call home.