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Some Assembly Required

I had a lovely experience with Christmas this year. My two oldest kids are old enough to really appreciate more complicated toys and notice when things are a little different. I spent a few hours setting up for Christmas morning, and making sure everything looked “just so”. I even made my brother help me with the Lego village. 

So naturally, on the eve of my son’s birthday, only 3 days after Christmas, I abhorred the fact that I was already wrapping more boxes and assembling a birthday celebration. This feeling was even more pronounced since I had bought a special surprise for him months ago, that I imagined being the favorite birthday gift. 

A friend of mine had bought a teepee for her son, on sale and very nice. Online, it looked similar to a pop-up tent thing my daughter has (in the shape of a princess castle of course) that J loves, so I thought it would be the perfect compliment to that. The box arrived amid several other Christmas gifts, so I put the entire box away to open later when I prepared for his birthday. 

Tonight, when my kids got in bed, I began to look at the Christmas crazy left from the last few days of slowly dwindling house guests and overflowing bins and boxes of stuff. I’m supposed to host a birthday party tomorrow?! I don’t care how small it’s supposed to be, that’s a little bit of pressure. So naturally I run the vacuum half-heartedly and pick up miscellaneous items from new toy sets and one thousand little scraps of wrapping paper I had so carefully folded and sparingly taped. And then… I remember the teepee.

I retrieved the box from the garage, and get to work. I’ve got a few choice pictures of my progress…  

 When I took it out of the box, I was surprised to find wooden poles. What happened to that pop-up tent I ordered? Along with the poles there was treated canvas. Was this thing an actual tent?! Is he, at some point in the future, going to ask me to camp in this thing?!

So, I got to work, in the middle of the living room floor, glass of wine close by for moral support. The directions seemed simple: Twist poles together. Put poles into inserts in canvas. Tie poles and grommets in canvas together. Enjoy your tent. Easy! 


 Forty-five long minutes later, I call my mom upstairs to help me tie knots, and we stand back and look at our newest abode within an abode. I could probably curl up and sleep in this thing. J is gonna LOVE it. I had envisioned it in his room. I’ll probably still let him keep it there, but it’s gonna be tight.  


 Moral of the story? J will love it. And I would do anything for my son, especially on his birthday, that I think he will love. Even after a week of crazy has just happened, I will open my home to even more crazy, because he deserves to be celebrated. I love him for who he is, but also (mostly) because he is my sweet, beloved son. Will he remember his second birthday? Nope. Will his adult self remember an awesome, surprisingly durable, traffic cone-like teepee? Maybe not. But will he remember the love his mama put into everything that had to do with him? I sure hope so. 

If I can love my silly, sweet middle child so much, after only two years, that it brings tears to my eyes, how much more can my Father, creator of the cosmos and author of my destiny, love me? I may be sweet, I am definitely silly, and I often feel lost in the shuffle, but I always know that I have the deep, secure love of a Father who would do anything to make me whole. 

Whitney Hsu

Whitney is wife to wonderful Ryan, and mama of bold and hilarious Ella Kate, Joseph and Davis. She leads worship at a new campus of an old church, and writes about life, parenting, and the Gospel. When she isn't writing, she's reading, running, making music, and being a foodie. Follow her journey here: Twitter & Instagram @onlyhsuman

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