Robert LOVED woodworking. He learned from his grandfather and used to tell me how sad he was when his grandfather died. One of his early memories was putting a thing that he made into the coffin at his funeral and then seeing the funeral director remove it and throw it away (he did go rescue it from the trash at the tender age of 6).
Given his love—I had kept most of his woodworking tools—the power newer ones and the hand tools (mostly his grandfather’s) that he used.
Munchkin is 8—and wanted to build his own pinewood derby car. I decided that it was the right time to pull out the tools.
I hauled the big bins out to the garage—and we looked at what he had. Munchkin had drawn the model for his car and then carefully marked the cuts. I only had one minor issue that I needed to call my brother to figure out—but other than that everything is still in working order!
Munchkin is big enough to reach the work bench. I used the scroll saw to make the big cuts and Munchkin carefully and meticulously used the hand tools to shape and sand his car. He has earned his whittling chip in Scouts so he knows how to safely use tools and cut away from himself. I was relegated to a space outside of his safety circle.
I stood there and watched him. He was careful and smiley and did things the way that he wanted to do them. He carefully touched the wood to ensure that it was smooth enough and sanded away any rough spots his little finger found. As I watched, I realized that the connection to Robert is starting to come full circle. That even though he wasn’t here to teach Munchkin himself, by using his tools and answering his questions, that was connection between them.
It is nearly eight years since the accident, and Munchkin was a baby-so it sometimes hurts my heart on all that they missed together. Today—instead of hurt, I was able to see the joy of a young boy using his father’s tools. That joy—that joy makes my heart happy.