“Dad, will you please help me build my Lego airplane?”. It was a very simple request by my nine year old son as I walked by his room last night. I paused before responding, thinking of the kitchen that needed tidying and laundry that needed folding before I went to bed. But, instead of using those excuses, I decided that it was a perfect time for some father-son Lego building. The chores would have to wait. As I entered his room his face lit with a smile and I knew that I had chosen wisely.
The Lego plane he was building had a booklet of 51 steps for it to be fully assembled. Yeah, fifty one! To complicate matters slightly was the fact that he had taken apart all of his (previously-assembled) Lego kits and separated all of the bricks by color in their own plastic bins. So, for each step we had to open the plastic box (he’s very organized!) that corresponded to that brick’s color and find it. Think “needle in a haystack” for every single brick.
But, I had checked my attitude at the door and, instead of feeling frustrated at how long this was taking, I cheerfully worked with him on this project. What was interesting was how he started talking while we were working together, sharing his thoughts about school, friends and other stuff that was important to him. It reminded me again of why I choose to be a StayAt Home Dad: for a moment like this where I can simply leave everything else for a while and devote my entire attention to my child. No distractions.
After well over an hour of this easy-going time together I gave him a warning that it would be time to clean up and go to sleep in 15 minutes. Instead of the usual complaining and delaying, he nodded. When the time came, we worked together to quickly put the hundreds of Lego bricks away in their proper boxes. He didn’t complain even one time that the airplane wasn’t finished. Instead, he thanked me for spending so much time with him and requested more “Lego time” with me for the next day (today). After he crawled under his covers and we prayed together, I leaned over to give him a hug and kiss. He surprised me by not letting go of me as quickly as he normally does and told me, “I love you, Dad. Good night.”
I gently closed his door and stood there silently in the hall, wondering why I had even paused at his initial request. The chores were going to have to get used to waiting. This kind of quality time was far more important.