On Houses and Families: Finally, the Addition's Complete
TOH Editor Scott Omelianuk on his latest, best creation
I underestimated the TOH family when I skipped writing my editor's letter back in September. I didn't think anyone would notice. So when the e-mails started coming—from Gayle Gutknecht, worried that I didn't work here anymore; from Lori Feidt, concerned I'd hurt myself in a DIY project; and from dozens of others of you—I was touched. I truly appreciate the concern. And I apologize for taking a pass.
The thing is, I was a little tied up with the new addition.
That's the addition there in the photo. Our boy. Our amazing little guy.
For a long time, my wife and I didn't think we would be able to have a child. When we started our remodel five years ago, it was our intention to finish fast, because we wanted a family fast. Not surprisingly, many of the plans and decisions we made were based on having a brood. But neither project turned out to be as easy as we thought, and to be honest with you, there were times when we wanted to give up on both, especially the remodeling.
Maybe some of you understand. The toddler-height rod in the hall closet sort of mocks you with no hope of tiny coats on it. The microwave you cleverly placed in the island—the better to give wee ones easy access—just becomes a bother to your grown-up back. And the mudroom you were so excited about doesn't hold the same interest when you're told you'll never have little feet bringing in the mud.
But for some reason—stubbornness, foolishness, hope beyond reason?—we didn't give up. And though the remodel is still a long way from done, our family, even if it gets no bigger, is complete. And I now understand a little bit better some of the remarkable lengths to which so many of you have gone to build homes for your own families. I also understand that, in the end, without a doubt and despite the difficulties, my wife and I were blessed.
My neighbor Bev, who, along with her husband, Jim, is a TOH reader, popped in for a visit one evening not too long ago. She came to see our new baby and tell us about her own expectant daughter. After a bit, holding our little guy over my shoulder and patting his back, I saw her out. As she was leaving, she paused by the gate, she looked back at us both and said, "Scott, you seem so happy. So happy. I think you should write about him in one of your letters." I demurred. Somehow this miracle baby seemed too precious and personal to talk about.
She said, "Think about it. All the people who've followed your hard-luck remodeling stories—they've been in this with you for a long time."
I looked down at the boy in my arms and thought about all the e-mails you guys sent me. "They deserve to hear the happy ending," she said. "You should tell them."
And so, I have.