Friday, June 12, 2015

Brick By Brick

Most days, my son comes home with basic homework--reading, a bit of writing, perhaps a math worksheet. Today, as I retrieved him from the bus (because that is what you do when you are awaiting word on your next day of work), he announced that he would be building a model of the White House. And that we'd need to acquire Lego to do it. For tomorrow.

Now, it's not that his bus is so late in the day that such a thing is impossible. But as I struggle to make the most of my "not working, but trying to work" time each day before school bus time, I generally perceive the hours from 4:00 on as "settle in" time. I give up being able to accomplish much on my own, since kids are suddenly buzzing around. We generally stay inside, because they have been out since quite early, and if there are no afterschool activities to race to, I am happy to be in with them. So when it was suddenly announced that a trip to buy Lego would be necessary, I simply stared in disbelief. How could we possibly do such journeying this late in the day, much less, complete a potentially major building project in one night?

I have vetoed many a proposed outing in my time because of expense, bad timing, or sheer exhaustion. This one pretty much checked all of those boxes, yet, before I knew it, we were off on a brick-buying excursion.

The thing about doing things you don't want to do is that once you give yourself over to them, they can often be a lot of fun. In this case, in the course of traveling to two--yes, two--Lego stores (white bricks are not as abundant as you'd think), we took three buses and a train. We saw tourists (it's summer in the city), tourist attractions, and a police escort. We spent time talking, instead of plugged in to our individual screens. And we negotiated our way to the bricks we hoped would be enough to build the White House in one night.

Turns out that, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, Washington isn't easily built in one night. The project will likely continue into the weekend. But we have the supplies--the bricks we bought, plus a lot of our own (because you always need more supplies than you realize). We have a plan of sorts. And we have a running start. So there will be a White House.

In a day that ended quite differently than I could have imagined, I learned a little something about building--whether it's Legos or life. Hard as we try, we can't always accomplish what we want in a day. What we can do is begin. We can assemble the necessary supplies, whether those are Legos, or cooking ingredients, or resume bullet points. We can make a plan. We can choose to believe that we actually can do it. And then, brick by brick, we can start building.

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