I think there is a lot of responsibility which falls onto a father’s shoulders. Paying the bills and keeping his family fed and warm; helping to teach the children all they need to know before adulthood; helping his son become a man; going to work day in and day out regardless of whether he wants to or feels like it that day; keeping the house and garden in a state of repair. I could go on. Responsibilities are numerous and occasionally a father may need help.
Just recently Gary and I were talking about the garden. In our house the garden is typically Gary’s domain. Not because I don’t want to help but because it is what Gary does for a living and really I don’t have a clue! Just over a year ago we had to remove a large tree which was threatening to fall onto our house in all the storms England was having at the time. We had it cut down and cut into large logs and placed to the side of our garden. Around the same time we were given a very old green house, some paving stones and a heap of doors. Suddenly out of nowhere our garden began looking like a junk yard.
I was aware the logs needed to season before Gary chainsawed them down to a choppable size and T13 chopped them into useable sized logs. A year went by and still everything was just sitting there. Our garden was beginning to look like a jungle. I had hoped to carry out a daily or weekly nature study but the heap did not inspire me at all! I do not like to put pressure on Gary because he works so hard outside the house and when he’s home he does his fair share of childcare. He is a fabulous worker and provider for our family. That said, I was concerned that nothing was being done and I asked if he had any plans.
Now Gary rarely displays weakness and does not like to admit defeat in any way but that particular day he just shook his head. He said he kept looking at it and it felt overwhelming to him. There was so much to do, he didn’t know where to start. So I suggested we tackle it as a family. I didn’t know if this was practical or not. For example I knew only he could to do the chainsawing. It turned out there was lots we could do. We have been going out every day for just half an hour. Half an hour is no time at all but the seven of us have achieved heaps and day by day the garden is becoming less overwhelming and less jungle-like. And we are putting by enough logs to heat our home all winter long.
What I love most about all of this is the truth that life can be overwhelming when you have to tackle something alone, but when a family draws on the strength of each family member that which felt overwhelming suddenly feels doable, even easy.