Written by Elisabeth Haggard
The Haggards are an emotional bunch.
Almost always, some or all of us are feeling big feelings, and you can bet everyone else knows about it. At the beginning of shelter-in-place, I wondered if some of the fear and uncertainty out in the world would somehow be balled up between the five of us, existing in our home like some kind of extreme microcosm.
It’s been two months now and I’m still surprised that hasn’t happened. We are still feeling our big feelings, of course, but we are doing generally very well. For those who don’t know us, we have quite the back story. In the twelve years Jason and I have been married we’ve walked through weighty things–miscarriages, marriage turmoil, unemployment, career changes, illness, mental illness, death, and painful parenting strife. We are a messy family. And we are tender and raw from our experiences.
Right before Corona hit, we were stepping out of the intensity of a two-year Masters degree for Jason. Some significant financial struggles that had been looming over us for a while had resolved. Honestly, we needed time together–time that wasn’t colored by the stress of never ending study or a dwindling bank account. Corona quarantine gave that to us.
Over the last two months the five of us have shared meals, taken bike rides, watched movies and eaten lots of ice cream and cookies. We’ve had slow school days full of sitting and reading to my kids for as long as we want. The kids have laid out on our sunny deck on the glorious spring days we’ve been having, and dunked in our kiddy pool on the hot ones. Jason and I have had time together in the evenings to share a drink, talk, or read.
We’ve been creating and building, too. We’ve lived in and enjoyed our house for seven years, but we haven’t done much to improve it. Now we’ve got the time, space, and money. Jason and I have been standing around our house and yard talking and pointing and scheming. There’s been cleaning up and sprucing up. We’ve had lots of those fulfilling moments at the end of a hard day of labor where you step back from your project and bask in the satisfaction of your efforts.
The biggest thing we have to show for our work is a real-deal treehouse for our son, Ian
The project has been several years in the making, with all of the preliminary conversations ending with “When Dad gets done with school, we’ll make it happen.” Ian identified this shelter-in-place opportunity immediately, and it felt good to be able to say “yes” to him.
This tree house could’ve been a few pieces of plywood and a sheet of metal on top, but as with every home project anyone has ever embarked on, it became much bigger in scope, time investment, and cost. It was totally worth it.
Ian worked hard with Jason the first couple days of the project, which I think is about as much as we can expect from our tween. Over the next six weeks Jason faithfully worked on the tree house. His table saw served as a place of respite when his introverted self needed alone time.
Here it is, folks–Ian’s tree house.
It’s “substantially complete,” as Jason says.
If you’ve got four minutes of time, Jason can give you a personal tour of his hard work.
Have there been some hard moments in our family’s little quarantine cocoon? Absolutely. We’ve had our share of tears and frustration, children and adults alike. I’ve prayed over our messiness, and felt the weight of it. But beyond all that, there is a sense that we’re alright. When hard times come again, we’ll be alright then, too. Ian’s tree house and so many other memories will remind me of this sweet time of rest and peace.
To put all the faces on this story, here is us.
Lastly, I do want to say that in our togetherness we’ve still missed our church family. We can’t wait to worship corporately again. If you know Jason you know he will track you down on that first Sunday and give you an excessively long hug. I will give you an awkward one. And you will hear our children coming from a mile away.
May COVID-19 bring unexpected blessings to you, too. And may those blessings bring healing and hope in a way that only God can do.