Jody Kerzman
 
 
    
 
The salvaged headboard before... (Megan Milbradt)
 
 

 
...becomes an upcycled bench after. (Megan Milbradt)
 
 

 
Jake, 13-year-old son of the author, turned this headboard into a bench.
 
 

Is it just me, or has this been the longest summer ever?

Maybe it's because this is my first full summer working from home and being with the kids. All. The. Time.

Or maybe it's because I no longer have any children who take naps.

All four of my kids are creative; they love to make stuff, whether it's duct tape flowers, cookies, Lego ships, or videos. They are always creating something or asking what they can make.

I've taken the 7- and 4-year-old to every craft department in town, and we've stocked up on glue, beads, felt, paint and Styrofoam shapes. They're pretty happy with their craft stash, and when I can't find them they're usually off creating something (or sneaking away on their bikes, but that's a story for another time).

That crafty stash has been a lifesaver. While they're busy gluing and painting, I am able to get some work done, make supper, return phone calls and emails, and do all those other things moms do.

My 15-year-old is too busy with summer school, work and sports to need my help looking for something to do. Plus, I've realized once they can drive, teenagers are rarely home.

My 13-year-old son is a different story. He's at that awkward age where he's too old to paint birdhouses and bake cookies, but he's too young to have a job and a driver's license. He's got Boy Scouts and he's done a few camps, but even with those structured activities, he's still got a lot of free time on his hands. He'd play video games all day if I'd let him. One day I let him, just to see what would happen. It was ugly. The video games got taken away and he still doesn't have them back.

I had to come up with something to keep him busy, something to give him a sense of accomplishment, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

So when my neighbor had an old headboard in her garage sale, I got an idea. Jake likes building things -- it started with Legos years ago and now he's started tinkering around in the garage. He turned a pile of scrap wood into a doll bed for his sister and made some pretty neat stools for the neighbors, so I knew he could handle something bigger.

If you've spent any time on Pinterest, you know there are a million ideas of things to do with old headboards. I decided to let Jake take control, so I just told him I wanted him to make the headboard into a bench. He came up with his own design, and his dad helped him bring that design to life. They spent the Fourth of July weekend working together, turning a pile of scrap wood into a really cool bench for the backyard. Watching my boys work together and seeing Brad teach Jake made my heart happy.

While I'm happy to let the boys build stuff, I did all of the painting; these boys I live with just don't understand why I'd want to paint something two different colors, sand half the paint off, and then hit it with a hammer to make it look old. That said, I think it looks cool. It will be awesome to have more seating around the fire pit. And talk about a conversation starter -- this has been the topic of conversation in my neighborhood for days.

But the best part: Jake had fun. He learned he enjoys working in the garage and building things. He realized there's more to life than video games, which makes me smile and gives me hope that we might just survive this longest summer ever after all.



 
Jody Kerzman is married to Brad, and they have four super-busy kids who keep them hopping.