When we talked about plans for the upcoming Sukkos holiday, the kids asked me if we were going to build a pergola. I told them I wasn’t going to take charge of this project, and if it was going to get done, someone else was going to have to take it on and see it through from beginning to end. In the past this has been ds22, but he wouldn’t be home in time to get it done.
The kids agreed that they wanted to have a pergola, and ds16 volunteered to take responsibility for getting it done on time. It would be a tight deadline to meet since our conversation took place the night of Sept. 20, and it had to be done by Sept. 25.
Ds16 got information about the structure, what size boards to use, where to buy it,borrowed tools, ordered the lumber, and arranged the lumber delivery (it arrived the day after Yom Kippur, Sept. 24).
(Disclaimer at my childrens’ request: they’re dressed in work clothes and don’t walk around publicly like this.)
Once it arrived, he got all of his siblings at home involved in staining all the lumber with him.
I had been gone that day at the hospital for the pre-op appointment with ds3 and when I came home late in the afternoon the Werner crew (ds6, ds8, dd14, dd19 and of course ds16) hard at work!
If you’re wondering what my part was – he asked for my feedback about my preference for the width of the boards and what color stain I wanted, and I also wrote the check for him to pay with at the hardware store.
Ds22 got home a couple of hours later and that evening and the next morning he and ds16 worked nonstop to build the pergola. They were amazing. Within 24 hours of the unstained lumber being delivered, the pergola was finished! They both had very dark suntans after all those hours in the blazing suns but they said it was worth it.
Can you believe we were so busy admiring the final result that we didn’t take a picture once it was done and the porch was cleaned up?
But it’s beautiful. And now for Sukkos it’s a beautiful frame for our sukka -we have so much room, more spacious and convenient than any sukka we’ve ever had. We had 17 people for the first day of yom tov with plenty of room; we could easily have had double that.
This was an empowering and gratifying project for ds16. He’s very competent but in the past has been the younger brother following his older brother’s lead on projects. This time the roles were reversed. He gave the instructions and while everyone worked hard together, he’s the one who made this project happen. You can hire someone to build a pergola for you, but being able to do it yourself builds a person’s sense of competence and ability in a way that watching someone to do the job could never match.