“Abigail, have you ever worked with me past midnight?”
“Well,” I said, “We did it. We worked right through until tomorrow.”
After working my day job from 7 am until 5 pm, I stopped by the house to change clothes, pick up my tools, and bring along one of my children. It was Abigail’s turn to go to work with daddy. Knowing the size of the job, I expected to work from 6 until 9 pm. Maybe 9:30.
Things don’t always go as planned. I was hired to install some vinyl flooring in a house that was being flipped and the job needed to be complete by morning. The existing floor took much longer to remove than expected. After much sweat, and almost tears, the sub-floor was prepared for new vinyl to be installed. By this time it was already 9 pm.
My daughter was very helpful, even grabbing a floor scraper and putting her back into it right next to me. Then she swept and put the old flooring into trash bags. I love teaching my children to work and I love to work alongside them. Not that I expect my daughters to be floor installers, of course, but the work ethic they learn by working with dad is important and will serve them well.
Abigail had a history test the next morning, so I had her bring along her text. When the work she was able to do was finished I asked her to read the text aloud to me. While I installed flooring, she read to me about the Great Awakening.
Home education may get better than this, but it’s not likely. What could be better than listening to your daughter read about George Whitfield and Johnathan Edwards while at work. Truly satisfying.
At one point we left the job-site to make a Home Depot run.
(Here she is-reading her text while we are en route to the store)
At the job, I was plenty warm, even sweating. Abigail was getting cold as the night wore on. She hadn’t brought a jacket and the only thing I could find to help was the yellow rain jacket I keep tucked behind the seat of my truck. She wrapped the jacket around her, found a seat on a paint bucket, and continued to read to me. I could tell she was getting tired by the yawning that started, but she read on.
Sure, a late night at the movies might have been fun. Or a midnight round of marshmallows around a campfire. But the best memories are sometimes made at unexpected times, when things don’t go as planned. Making the most of these times, making lemonade out of lemons as the saying goes, is part of good parenting.
I was tired that night myself. I needed a break. I needed a night off. My attitude wasn’t the best as I was scraping up the old floor and saw that the hours were passing quickly. Realizing that I had an opportunity to be a model to my daughter snapped me out of my melancholy. It took me a few minutes. I started singing worship songs aloud. I started praying silently for the Lord’s help. It came.
The night was difficult, but blessed. God intervened on my behalf and let me see an opportunity that was hiding just beneath my sweat soaked brow; an opportunity to be a good example to my daughter. Abigail may or may not know the struggle that was taking place inside her father, and she may not see this night as a memory to cherish, but adding this experience to many others, those where her father sang while working and where he kept his attitude in check through difficulties, will be an example fused into her life.
May it be so, Lord, by your grace.