Today we are beginning a back yard remodel. Upon looking at this picture, you must be thinking to yourself, "I can't imagine why?!" I mean really, who wouldn't want to frolic in that patch of moss and thinned out grass, or break their ankle in the dogs' efforts to dig to China? (Heaven only knows what they think is down there....other than the original "shock wire" to keep them from going across the line...I think it's a revenge issue!)
Did you see the gentleman in the background? He is dismantling this little piece of our family history.
That is a picture taken this morning of the play structure we purchased within weeks of moving into this, our first-owned home, 7 and a 1/2 years ago. At the time (when the yard looked AMAZING after having just been landscaped with fresh sod laid down) - it was the "final piece" to my perfect home. We purchased it from a family for a greatly reduced cost (it's a "Rainbow" play system which is top of the line) - as long as we were willing to tear it down from their residence and, of course, put it up ourselves.
It looked much better back then than it does now.
Upon realizing, all of a sudden this morning, that it needed to come down this weekend before work begins, John begrudgingly acknowledged he needed to borrow a trailer and tear it down to haul it to the dump.
With a bit of "Toy Story" nostalgia and sentimentality, I suggested we just take a pic and put it on Facebook to see if anyone would bite at the offer of a free play structure. John reluctantly agreed, feeling like it wouldn't work, but appeasing me. We went ahead and then placed it in the free section of Craigslist as well, mandating it had to be taken down this afternoon and hauled away by someone else....but hopeful it would go to some family that would find as much joy in it that it has brought to us.
Within a half hour, John had received 10 calls from folks willing to take it off our hands. PRAISE GOD! And, let me just tell you, John is ONE HAPPY CAMPER to not have to worry about that job. I'm a very happy camper to know it's going to another home and not the dump, but most of all, that gentleman (Rick is his name) is a VERY HAPPY CAMPER to be able to bring home a quality play structure (once it's given a little TLC) to his two boys....aged 2 1/2 and a year. =) Our kids even threw in the bucket of toys in the sand area when they found that out. =)
I'm going to hold off in giving a complete description on what our new backyard area will become, but let's just say there's a whole lot of excitement about it. There ought to be, because it's going to cost us quite a bit of money. This has been something John and I have been weighing out, but just this week, it hit me why I'm willing to spend money on this, but not on other repairs crying out for help (i.e. - air conditioning system). It goes back to the title...I want our home to have the "home court advantage" for Brayden and Mikayla. John and I absolutely see the upcoming changes as being a huge draw for the ministry functions we have with the UO students and young adults in our life, but much more importantly to us is the huge draw it will be to our kids and their friends. We want our home to be the place they most want to be.
On Wednesday morning, during that hour or so alone that I have with Brayden between the time Mikayla's school starts and his school starts - out of the blue, this is what he said:
"Mom, you know what my best birthday present was? It wasn't even something I could have asked for because there's no amount of money that could ever buy it, it's far too valuable."
(At this point, I hate to admit, I was only half listening - too engrossed in Pinterest or Facebook...and from what I heard I was already guessing the Christmas announcement of Travis and Stephie's baby as the answer - even though that had nothing to do with his birthday...yeah, I'm a really good mom)
He continued, "It's having you guys as parents. I mean, you are the best parents in the world, and that's something so much more amazing than any birthday present I could have asked for....
He then followed up with some more cuddly comments about me as his mom....and while I was half listening it hit me that I had to immediately treasure every word coming out of that boys' mouth - memorize it and write it down quick....because, how often does a mom of a seventh grade boy ever get to hear words like that come out of her son's mouth?
WOW!!! And, then as I processed that over the next couple of days, it solidified in my mind that this upcoming expense will be worth it - to help insure this relationship we have with our kids stays as strong as it is. Clearly, us providing games, toys, a trampoline or whatever are not what makes us the parents Brayden is describing - but, having those as resources to engage with our kids - or allow them a safe place to engage with others - that's a part of it.
So, stay tuned for "remodel" pictures - I'm excited - and for sure, it's time - and as far as I'm concerned, it will be "worth it".