The Union Recorder


December 28, 2013

ROWLAND: A pretty cool Christmas memory


Well, Christmas Day has come and gone, and this column marks the last one for 2013. I started to do the whole New Year's resolution thing, but there will be plenty of time for that next week. Maybe my first one should be to avoid procrastination, but I digress.
For the few days leading up to Christmas, the Rowland house was hopping. Both boys made it home with families in tow. Steven and Meghan brought Charlie the Rescue Dog. He and Otis generally spend their time together playing rough and tumble for hours. This year was no exception.
Brian and Morgan made it home with Trenton, our new grandson. I could write a book about what being a grandfather is doing to me and my outlook on life, but I won't - for now anyway. I will say that this was the first opportunity the rest of my family has had to get their hands on him.
Poor little guy got passed around like a football at a family picnic. He didn't seem to mind all of the extra attention, and I know everyone here enjoyed every minute of trying to spoil him before he left for home.
#Both sets of great grandparents were here, and I know it was special for them to hold Trenton for the first time. By mid-Christmas morning, everyone was gone, the house was quiet, and the dust was beginning to settleÉliterally.
I couldn't have written a better script for what family time filled with fun, love and laughter should be like. There was, however, one special moment worth sharing.
Some months ago, I discovered at a local home improvement store little toy kits that could be purchased and easily put together. The obvious purpose of these kits was to create some parent-child time for an activity that would teach basic carpentry skills, patience and result in a toy product for a young child.
Some time back, I started buying them each time a new one surfaced at the store. At the time, I certainly wasn't thinking of grandchildren, but I mostly did it just for me. I like tinkering in my shop, and these projects created an opportunity to do something that was fun.
Not knowing there was a grandson in my future, I figured I'd find some way to use the product of my ability to drive a nail, affix a decal, and follow directions. Over the Christmas family visit, however, one kit turned into something special.
#A few days ago, I brought home the ambulance kit. So, Christmas Eve, Mom and Meghan were in the house watching movies; Steven, my oldest, and I were out in the shop catching up with life, putting a few finishing touches on a project or two I had sitting on the almost finished shelf, and just hanging out.
I mentioned the ambulance kit, and we agreed to put it together.
In the interest of full disclosure, I think I ought to tell you that these are not complicated projects. In fact, the instructions are simply a series of pictures that show how the parts fit together.
Regardless, I opened the package, neatly arranged all of the parts on my workbench top, and invited Steven to make the first move. He never hesitated. He looked at each part, studied the schematic, reached for the hammer, and dove in.
I occasionally handed him the next nail, made a suggestion about how to proceed based on my extensive toy kit building experience, and in reasonably short order, our little ambulance sat on the bench top fully assembled. 
My favorite part is the decals. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it might have something to do with the fact that I was horrible at putting together plastic models as a kid. I could get glue in places it was never intended, and the decals were impossible.
I'm not sure if I am better at it now or if my patience is just improved. At any rate, Steven turned the decal function over to me, and in just a few additional minutes, out little ambulance looked just like the picture on its package. With the little model complete and my firstborn son looking over my right shoulder, I said, "You know what just happened don't you?"
With a look of slight confusion on his face, he said, "Not really."
"Think about it," I said in true fatherly introspective fashion.
"Not a clue", was his response.
"I'm not sure what the creator of these projects had in mindÉ" I said with a slight pause, "Ébut we just did it together," he said completing my thought.
Pretty cool Christmas memory if I do say so myself.

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