“Mom,”exclaimed #3, “who are we attacking?!”
This past weekend, Canadians celebrated Victoria Day, a holiday honouring our British colonial roots, an excuse for a Monday off work, and the unofficial start of summer. Activities abound, from opening up the family cottage to planting and other yard work. At our house, the weekend was spent cleaning out the garage which had become a repository for anything and everything except the cars which clearly have no room in there.
For me, the garage is uncharted territory, best left to the menfolk who seem to find a number of useful items that I would just as soon pitch curbside. For my younger children, the sight of their dad emptying the garage fills them with excitement. What I see as trash, they see as possibilities.
“I think I’ll make a catapult.” This from #6.
“Uh huh.” Preoccupied mom.
Next thing I knew, there was a heated argument coming from the backyard. My 2 youngest sons were arguing over the who, what, where and how of catapult construction, while my youngest child occasionally interjected with her 2 cents worth. There went my quiet holiday Monday. My husband had vanished back into the peace and quiet of his mancave-garage.
“Work! This! Out!”
Eventually, the argument was replaced by civilized conversation and good-natured instructions about putting this thing here and go get that piece over there.
Even #5 got in on it, lending his 17-year old expertise to the project. Hubby gave much-needed lessons in proper handling of power tools and the plan came together.
I didn’t see it until they finished. In my mind, I imagined a small, compact, toy-like structure. Boy, was I ever wrong!
My children had taken found objects from the garage and the treehouse and they built a 12- foot structure. Their weapon of mass destruction was made of empty laundry detergent buckets, a pool ladder, cast-off wood, rope, bricks and a grill pan (which I still use but gave up for the cause). I was impressed. A little worried about the damage they could do with it, but impressed nonetheless.
A friend who dropped by for dinner laughed and asked, “who are you at war with?”
Their ammunition of choice is our assortment of soccer balls. Apparently, they can catapult them a distance of 10 feet. Thankfully, that means we won’t be breaking any neighbours’ windows or destroying other people’s plants. The original brains behind the operation is still trying to figure out how he can perfect their creation. I don’t doubt that he can do it.
Maybe it’s because of my husband’s and children’s Scottish roots and their love affair with Scottish lore. Maybe it’s because they watch too much History Channel. Maybe they were bored. Whatever the reason, my kids took seemingly unrelated objects and created something totally out of the box on a warm, lazy holiday Monday.
What started out as an idea in the mind of a 14-year old became a lesson in reconciliation, co-operation, problem-solving, team work, recycling, creativity, power tools and even physics.
Does it get any better than that on a Victoria Day Monday?