Can anything spark more joy in the life of a child than a huge pile of something to be shoveled? …Well, it depends on what’s in the pile, I guess, but a pile of rocks is certainly the cause of great excitement. Anselm and Ephraim had already taken shovels to it before I even had breakfast going for the day.
Usually the boys do the after-breakfast cleanup, but today they headed right back out to the gravel pile, and I did the wiping, sweeping, and dishwashing for them.
This gravel is for a patio area between the main house and the ham house (or, as Elvie calls them, the Pink House and the White House.) This patio has been a dream of ours for three years now, maybe more. We’ve had visions of string lights and places to sit, and flower beds and ornamental trees.
The area was just bulldozed, and plastic nailed down, which then blew back up in the wind. This morning the plastic was re-laid and then gravel put onto it to keep it from blowing up again before the bobcat laid the rest of the gravel out.
Ephraim, you worked tirelessly all morning at shoveling. I was happy to take over the dishes for you and to see you apply yourself so fully. You’re getting older, and hovering between the desire for play and the yearning to put your strength to something more challenging and permanent. Just don’t give up when it gets hard.
Clivey, Clivey, you are the sensitive Artist of the family. You’re almost always indoors when things like this are going on. On this day you were out at first, but came back inside to draw, I think. Do you remember how I chased you outside to help with the shoveling? Not literally, of course. It was more of a firm suggestion. “I think you need to go back outside and help.” You went right back out, of course. Cheerfully, as always.
Anselm, you were the first one out to the pile before breakfast, but got tired out wielding that huge shovel. After a couple of short breaks, you traded it in for a smaller one, and kept on plugging away.
Here, Elvie, you are playing a human paperweight. You carried rock for a while, then sat down to look at a book. You were instructed to sit in this spot so the plastic would not blow away. Despite the look on your face, you were perfectly content with this arrangement.
Jeremy, do you remember this first day we really saw what it was like to work together as a family? May this be the first of many such days.