An Adult Daughter’s Thoughts about Growing up a Contractor's Child
My dad asked me if I would write an article for him about the value of being raised as a contractor’s daughter, and how that might differ from other people’s experiences. I can’t actually imagine what it might be like to not be a contractor’s daughter. My childhood was filled with the smell of sawdust flying through the air, and classic rock crackling in from a dusty radio. Many of my earliest memories are of playing with my sister at the office around proudly branded displays of windows and shutters, and pretending to be mermaids in the basement storage. It shaped who I am.
My ambitious driven father, tempered by my fiery compassionate mother, expertly juggled raising us and running the company. Custom Contracting was as much a home to us as any other; a spot where our family worked together towards earning our place in the world. It made our family unit a team capable of moving mountains.
More than once I watched my father and his brothers build a house or barn. I cannot begin to describe to you the lingering feeling of awe which this type of undertaking inspires. With synchronicity honed their whole lives, they would take a wooded hill and a stack of reclaimed lumber, and create monoliths to my child’s eyes.
Not every moment was filled with awe and inspiration. My sister and I cleaned and helped renovate rental properties, we split hauled and stacked firewood, and we slaved through endless yard work. We hated (nearly) every minute of it. But we took great pride in our accomplishments, and the warmth of our house in the winter. I find that, as a young adult, I am not only more capable than my peers, I also believe myself more capable. I can hammer a nail and fix a sink better than most people I know, male or female. Because I am so confident in my abilities, I never think twice about taking on the world.
As the dust settles on my wild adolescence I have carried with me a foundation of values on which to build my adult life. Now it seems I just can’t shake the need to buy my own house and some dirt to sit it on. I find that less and less of my down time is spent scrolling Facebook, and more and more is spent Googling the cost of putting in a septic system and what contributes to real estate values. As I drive down the street I find myself judging the quality of people’s roofs and cringing at water damage where proper gutter installation is begging to be.
So, I can’t imagine what life must be like for someone who was raised in world without wet paint and sawdust, without a family who builds monoliths and moves mountains, or without pride in the woodstove thawing my frozen fingers. I am defined by so many of these things. Being a contractor’s daughter created a world for me screaming with potential and teeming with possibilities, and a hard earned confidence to succeed at even my wildest dreams.
Guest Blogger: Kate McCadden is the oldest child in the McCadden family. She’s the one in the family with the creative artistic abilities. She is working on her career to become a writer and plans to get rich writing a book everyone will want to read.