The heavy rains last month took a toll on our gravel road. Seems like every time I turned around, there was another pothole, or the ones that were already there were growing exponentially. Whenever there was a break in the downpour, we needed to do some serious patch work before the road took out someone’s axle…or kidneys. Funny thing is, this seasonal ritual works like a kind of measuring stick of sorts: Each year Weston does a little more and I do a little less. When he was small, I brought him along just as something for us to do together, and his participation generally made the work take twice as long. Then we had a few years of break even–he’d contribute enough to make up for the distractions and such, but I still had to think of ways he could help. Now, with Weston on the crew, we finish the job in half the time. He jumps right in…shoveling rock into the wheelbarrow, filling the holes, smoothing the edges. It’s not complicated work, but it takes some thinking to do it right, and the results are satisfying for both of us. Weston’s innate good cheer has always made the work more fun, but now he’s gone from “helping” to actually helping. A small thing, really, but a good reminder to savor these moments.
It’s that time of year again, when low spots in the road fill with water and start turning into potholes. But this year, we decided to get ahead of the game and spread some fresh rock before the actual holes form. Seemed like a good thing to do with all the weather we’ve had so far.
So Weston and I grabbed a shovel, a rake, a five-gallon bucket and went to work. He’s been “helping” me fix the road since he could walk, but this year, he actually did most of the work. And even thought it’s not as fun as basketball or fishing (or legos or video games…) he was cheerful and happy the whole time.
When we first started doing this together seven years ago, he slowed me down, but his happiness made it worth the extra effort. Now he can haul rock and spread it on his own, and I still gain from his upbeat attitude. Perhaps he just brings me along to keep the mood up.