When you want a new bed for your son you pop out to your local shop and pick one up. Or at least that’s what any sane Dad would do. If you did, you’d get a bed built to exacting standards, with a uniform finish and a CSA safety rating. If you’re me, however, you decide that despite 3 contracts, a business, Ironman training, and rebuilding the intake on mini, making one would be a much better idea. What you get when you do is a bed where the edges don’t all line up, with a mottled finish and a rather creaky disposition. The bed that love built.
I decided that Alex needed a loft bed and I decided that it would be cedar. Cedar, being a soft wood was probably not the best choice. And my next choice, to mortise the rails with a drilled screw bolt didn’t help. The thin edge left after the mortise didn’t take well to the strain of the bolt. The long span of the bed legs left the bed a bit wobbly and made for somewhat inaccurate measurements when I cut the top rails, leaving gaps at the corners. The panels were attached with hook closures that, if not perfectly square, won’t close. And squareness didn’t end up being a priority. Sometimes when I look at the bed, all I see are the flaws.
Today I took Alex’s old bed out of his room and began the process of bring in his new one. I carried in hundreds of pounds of lumber. I swore, I pleaded, I used my entire body weight and a few well placed washers and still it didn’t seem perfect. I struggled to find just the right angles so that all the pieces would fit together, like one of those wooden logic puzzles. The whole thing looked far too oversized in the room and the ladder seemed to be in the wrong place. I was sure it was a disaster.
But as we slowly put his room back together, I saw my little boy’s room turning into that of a little man. If you’ll permit me a few soppy metaphors, I realized the mottled finish was the sweat I’d put into it, the pieces of the puzzle were the problems I’d overcome and the gaps were filled with love. While I know the bed isn’t perfect, I know it is all Alex’s. And I know that he knows what it means to me to have made it for him. I look in his room now and I see the bed that love built.