Once upon a time, I cruised around town in my beloved Audi Q7, a diesel beauty that was both practical and exhilarating. It served me well, allowing me to tackle life’s challenges in style, whether dressed in a suit or casual shorts and a t-shirt. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for my trusty ride when the VW emissions recall came knocking on my door. Reluctantly, I bid farewell to my four-wheeled companion and traded it in for the more compact Q5. It was a great car, but with two kids, car seats, and a never-ending supply of kids’ stuff, we quickly realized we needed something with more space. And so, after much consideration, we welcomed our newest family member, “Orca,” a shiny new Q7!
During the May long weekend, as we juggled various tasks at our staging warehouse, it made perfect sense to rent a trailer. Little did I know that this mundane decision would lead to a burst of inspiration. You see, back when the pandemic forced playground closures, I had built a marvellous swing/slide/treehouse thingy in our backyard. And now, I thought, why not add a sandbox to complete the ultimate childhood oasis? When I pitched the idea to Benji, my eager son wholeheartedly embraced it. And that’s how, on the memorable 19th day of May 2023, Benji and I embarked on a mission to acquire a cubic foot of sand and a hefty 50 lb rock from a landscaping yard.
After our sand and rock shopping spree, another brilliant idea struck me—mulch! Playgrounds always had mulch, right? So, Benji and I ventured out to find a commercial mulch yard. We found one, except for a minor hiccup—they didn’t sell to retail customers. Oops! But with a little charm and an adorable kid on a mulch-seeking mission, we managed to convince them otherwise. And just like the sand, Benji’s eyes widened as a colossal front-loading truck, towering over our beloved Orca (our Q7), unloaded mounds of mulch onto our tarp-covered sand. His jaw dropped in awe, and I couldn’t help but share in his excitement.
Slowly but surely, with sand, mulch, and rocks in tow, Benji, Orca, and I safely made our way back home—just in time for Benji’s bath and bedtime routine. But the night was far from over. It was time to unload our precious cargo! So, from around 9 pm until midnight, I braved the pouring rain, unloading every ounce of sand and mulch from the trailer into our yard. Oh, the joys of fatherhood!
The next morning, fueled by an early bird’s determination, I started working on our grand sandpit project around 6 am. Benji and I (with Ella, our trusty companion) had already planned out the dimensions—an 8 ft x 5 ft sandy wonderland. With shovels in hand, we began digging, and to my delight, Ella joined us soon after. Together, we made light work of the excavation, and by 9 am, we marvelled at our impressive 8 ft x 5 ft x 1 ft pit. It was pure awesomeness!
To create sturdy retaining walls, we used 4x4s, carefully ensuring the first row was level before adding a second row that matched the grass’s natural slope. And what’s a sandpit without a proper sitting area? We finished off our masterpiece by adding a 2×6 bench all the way around. As for the leftover scraps, we got crafty and built a manual crane using an old window crank, a few pulleys, and a trusty fishing line. Voila! We had our very own construction site within the sandpit.
Throughout the process, Aleks, my ever-practical partner, would occasionally ask, “Why all the effort?” She had a point—an above-ground sandpit would have been far easier to assemble. But she missed the bigger picture. The sandpit, the crane, the playground, and every project Benji, Ella, and I undertake are not merely about taking the easy road. It’s about the experience, the joy of building and creating together. Whether it’s singing songs, drawing, or constructing, these activities feed my soul, and I cherish sharing them with my beautiful kids. I want them to embrace challenges, never shy away from difficult situations, and persist until they achieve their goals. I want them to be dreamers who see their ideas through from start to finish.
And so, as the sand tickles their toes and their laughter fills the air, I see the sheer delight in my children’s eyes. I revel in the fact that we built this sandpit together, with our own hands. This humble sandbox represents more than just a play area—it symbolizes the invaluable lessons we’ve instilled in them. I hope to embark on many more “sandpit” adventures with Benji and Ella, encouraging them to explore their creativity and pursue their dreams fearlessly. After all, life is meant to be built, one sandbox at a time!