Sometimes I am jealous of Rich's work. As a carpenter, he can stand back at the end of the day and physically see what he created. In fact, we can drive around St. Louis and see evidence of his thirty-five year career. Subdivisions at dusk when the lights are on inside, but the shades not yet drawn reveal staircases and bookshelves and kitchens that he installed. Once we met a couple that had recently purchased a house he built twenty years ago. Most recently, his labors are seen in commercial buildings. A Siteman Cancer Center. The Lutheran Senior Services Center. The trim, wood columns, and bar in the clubroom at the Peabody Opera House pictured above.
My work as a mother is not so clearly seen.
The laundry basket fills up the moment I finish five loads. The cycle of meals prepared and cleaned up is endless. The homeschool math lessons taught. And retaught when half the problems are missed. Some days it feels like little of what I do lasts until the following morning.
But then there is this moment.
When the two thousand mile away brother surprises the younger brother for high school graduation weekend. And they run to each other's arms and hold each other long and close in a culture where men greet with handshakes and slaps on the back.
And just maybe somehow through all those years something was created here.
Those conversations on conflict after one threw the other through the wall. Those sessions referring arm wrestling turned into body slamming. Those kicks under the table and those kitchen towels spun into whips and that waiting on the side of the road for an hour until these boys apologized for punching in the back seat. Maybe it created something. Maybe they were listening after all. "Your brother will always be your best friend," I said a thousand times trying to create camaraderie and closeness out of their common genetics. A couple weekends ago I saw pictures of my work. And I cried.
Congratulations to our son, Benjamin, on his high school graduation.
Bottom two photos taken by Clint Thayer Focal Flame Photography.