Everything was coming together. He was so thrilled and enthused that I found myself excited with him. It was such an accomplishment. He’d had fun but he’d been challenged, he’d had to think about the next steps, plan ahead, something he never really did. He’d had to be meticulous and dedicated while still enjoying the experience. It had been a great pleasure seeing his mind figure this out.
The excitement I felt in the face of his success might not compare to his but I still could feel great pride. And contrary to popular belief, the final steps when everything was done and only final details required his attention could prove the trickiest. One wrong choice could unravel all that had been done before and make a mess of the entire project. Like one card barely moving an inch could bring the entire castle down, the wrong move could destroy the work he’d spent hours building. But the rewards were worth the time and effort.
I should know, I’d been doing the same exercise for over 20 years, feeling the same energy and enthusiasm, when I was finished. The ending of this was always bittersweet: I was wound up because I’d finally put the hundreds odd pieces together and yet I was sad that the journey was over. But the result: such a treat. I didn’t tell him but he ended in much the same way I always did, with the final dash of paint on the stern. The fishing boat looked wonderful and when he held it for me to admire, his eyes twinkling, I smiled broadly.
“What do you think mom?”
“I think next time you’ll be able to do this one.”
I pointed towards the biggest of my models: a model of the Royal Louis, the most powerful first-rank vessels belonging to the French Royal Navy launched in 1779. It had taken me a year to finish it. Kyle’s enthusiasm at the idea was a reward in itself. The ending of one project, the beginning of a new challenge. That was what endings were: the beginning of something else. And for us, more hours spent together sharing the passion my dad gave me.