I get a lot of lookie-loos building The Dragon. People stop by all the time as they drive by, looking up from their window at me on the roof. They're all smiles, even though, half the time they don't even know what they're looking at.
"What is that?!"
"It's a playhouses," I say, pulling my ear protection off.
"Did you carve that yourself?" pointing to the dragon head.
"Looks like it took a lot of patience."
I nodded, and the man drove off in his pick-up with a wave. I sat there up there, looking at the two dragon heads and the tail, remembering all the hours it took me to make them (127 to be exact). I have always been a patient man, but before I had kids I don't think I was as patient as I am now.
It takes a lot of patience to make a Magical Playhouse. Swooping roofs mean every rafter is different. Every gable wall bird block is unique. Every woven corner shingle on a flared wall is one of a kind. Unlike the construction that makes the majority of the built world that surrounds us, there is very little repeatability in what I do. And that the magic of it, isn't it? The curves. The odd, subtle angles. It's what makes people who pass by my construction site smile. It's what makes me smile.
And as I sat up there, I made the connection between the shakes beneath my knee pads, gently curving away, like dragon wings ready to take flight. Anyone else with less patience would have called this crazy. But I'm a young dad. I've potty trained a toddler. Do you know how much patience that takes? And my son? I told him, hundreds of times a day, every day, for over a year, that what he was putting in his mouth was "Not food!" and he should spit it out. Which he did. Repeatedly. On the carpet.
My kids deserve a lot of credit for how I came to build playhouses for a living, but I never realized till then, that in raising them, I learned the most important skill that building them would require: patience.