My dad makes things from wood. When a friend gave him a few planks of red, distressed, Iowa barn board, he made plans. “I’ll make some shelves and shadow boxes,” he said.
One day, when Dad came to visit, my eight-year-old son Samuel was making a birdhouse out of a shoebox. “I have an idea,” Dad said. “I’ll help Sam build a birdhouse from the barn board.” Then he went home to make a birdhouse kit from one of the rustic planks.
When I went to visit my parents the next day, there were three white bags hanging above his saw. “I didn’t want Sam’s little brothers to feel left out,” he said. “I made kits for them, too.”
The next week, there were six bags dangling from the rafters. “Can’t forget the other little grandsons,” Dad said.
I was not surprised to find a straight, neat row of nine bags a few days later. “The little granddaughters?” I asked. Dad’s dimples put a smile on my own face.
Dad crafted birdhouses with each of the nine small grandchildren, one child at a time, holding the pre-cut pieces as kids wielded the hammer. He took a few blows to the fingers. “A small price,” Dad said. “Compared to their smiles.”
My three little boys, with help and a sturdy, tall ladder, hung theirs in lofty branches of our old maple. I stop to thank God when the deep red peeks through the thick leaves.
There wasn’t enough barn board left for shelves or shadow boxes. But my dad built something better. He made memories for the children.
And he couldn’t have been more pleased.
Thanks, Lord, for my dad, who lives out the joy of giving.
Happy Father’s Day to my dear, dear Dad, and to Lonny, the amazing father of my five sons. I love you both.