From the Editor

by

Last Autumn we bought the kind of house we could transform into a home that fits us just right. Eleven years before that, I married a man who has as many ideas as I do and just as much love for the process of creating. And so, with over a decade’s worth of pent up home dreams we dove in. With what remained of Autumn we painted, unpacked, and began a demolition project on our dining room. That project has not been touched since November and until recently has barely even been mentioned. We became immersed in the holidays and when we surfaced it was Winter. We were startled at the realization, and those gray rainy days beckoned us outside with the knowledge that Spring would soon be here.

That’s why, rain or shine, if you wanted to find our family the first place you would have looked would have been our backyard. Neighbors peeked, slightly perplexed at what on earth we were doing out there every weekend, many times in the pouring rain. Kendall and Finn brought down the deck I loathed–first with a saw and then a shovel, digging up the unreasonably numerable cement posts. I sat on the sidelines pregnant and very sick, there for their company and the enjoyment of being part of it in the only way I could. Eventually I was able to step in and together we shoveled dirt, turned soil, rearranged beds, weeded, pruned, and planted.

The entire project has taken longer than we thought. We aren’t doing all of our plans and still the transformation has taken us six months. We’re doing it all ourselves and we have included Finn in every part of it. Our family is together all the time. While that isn’t literally true, it is pretty close and that’s exactly the way I want it. Kendall works from home, I work in the home, and Finn school’s at home. We’re deeply a part of each others lives and so it makes sense that working on our backyard is something we were each thoroughly involved in.

To be honest, most of the time it would have been much easier and quicker for Kendall and I to do it ourselves. It can be excruciatingly inefficient to work on a project with a four year old, especially such a large project. On many occasions I have had to reign in the explosive frustration I feel at trying to direct, work with, and teach a very opinionated four year old who wants to be in charge and “do it the way he wants to do it”. It takes so much time. Perhaps if there was a grandparent nearby that could have taken Finn for the day or the weekend we would have done that, but I’m really glad we didn’t have that option. I’ve seen that it’s usually not the easier route that brings us closer, that melds us a family, that brings us joy, rather the route that’s a bit more difficult, challenging, and even inefficient. What I learn each time is that it is totally worth it.

We’re a really close family and we take joy in each other and our shared experiences. We all worked hard on the backyard and as a result each of us is proud of it. Finn feels that our backyard is as much his as it is ours. He beams and tells folks that he is both a great “workerman” and gardener, and it’s true, he is.

This issue of Grounded Magazine is filled with beautiful stories, ideas, and art sprung from the theme Together. We hope you enjoy.