In light of Home Town‘s Season 2 premiere and the birth of he and wife Erin’s first child — their daughter Helen was born two weeks early, and we still can’t get over it — carpenter and renovator extraordinaire Ben Napier has penned a now-viral blog post describing his thoughts on fatherhood, he and Erin’s home town of Laurel, Mississippi, and the reason why they do what they do. It is simple and beautiful and will fill you will goodwill, and thus is a perfect antidote for these trying times.
Ben’s post, entitled “This Is Why,” went up on the Laurel Mercantile site just ahead of Home Town‘s most recent episode. (He and the rest of the Mercantile crew are taking over blogging duties while Erin continues to recover from pregnancy and giving birth; she’ll be back on April 1st.) It’s not just about becoming a father — though, since the reason why the title alludes to turns out to be their daughter, it also is completely about becoming a father. But, because it’s also about motivation in general, the post should resonate whether you have children or not.
For starters, the Home Town Ben Napier viral blog post begins with a headache-inducing description of how harried things have been in the Napier household over the last few months:
I’ve never worked as hard as I did in the months we filmed the ten episodes for season 2 of Home Town. When we found out about Helen, our 6 month filming schedule got crammed into 4.5 months. We had to finish all the houses before our daughter’s arrival! Between meetings for Laurel Mercantile, Scotsman Co. furniture design meetings, ongoing projects in the woodshop, filming a TV show, designing and renovating ten houses, renovating our own home, renovating my parents’ home, feeding and walking our dogs, keeping our old cars running, participating in Laurel’s community events, and caring for a tired, pregnant wife, sleep was hard and fast. I found that in that time, I had to follow a routine or else nothing would get done. Every minute of my day was planned before my 4:00 am alarm clock ever went off….It was all in preparation for the launch of season two. I burned every end of every candle I had for half of a year getting ready for tonight, January 8th.
But in the end, it turned out that all he and Erin’s well-laid plans were somewhat for naught. Oh, they made every important deadline — except for Helen’s due date, which was always the one thing they couldn’t control. As Ben explains, Helen was actually born a bit prematurely…which managed to put everything else into perspective:
You see, on January 3rd, I didn’t need an alarm at 6:00 am. Every minute of my entire day was already planned out by someone greater than myself. Helen, the wonderful little surprise that she is, had surprised us again by coming two weeks early. As I sat there, drinking a cup of coffee next to my daughter who sat in her swing, it occurred to me. We hadn’t spent the last few months working tirelessly in preparation for the premiere of Home Town’s second season. It was for her.
From there, Ben ties he and Erin’s overall project of restoring Laurel with the greater good of helping revive small-town life across America. The project has greater significance for the two of them, now, since Helen means there’s someone specific to work for:
Unless you’re a selfish person, you’re doing what you do in life for someone else. It’s either for your children or your grandchildren or your spouse or your community or your friends or for God. All of these are the right reasons to do anything good, anything hard, anything worthwhile….Why do we allow cameras into our town, our place of business, our relationships? Why do we build furniture and products to sell online? Why do we own a store selling American-made goods in downtown Laurel? Why do we encourage people to shop local and support small businesses?…Erin and I really do want to shine a positive light on our town and our state. They are both beautiful places to call home. We are passionate about American manufacturing because we see the important far-reaching impact it has on small-town America. They need each other to survive…We hope you visit Mississippi, and our hometown, Laurel, but we also hope you’ll visit and support the towns in your own state. We hope you shop and support those local makers, builders, and business owners. Without them, small-town America will cease to exist. We hope that by working tirelessly on Home Town, we can preserve this place that our daughter will call home….So, if you were to ask me today, I would tell you, we do this for Helen.
You can read “This Is Why,” the Home Town Ben Napier blog post, in its entirety here. And please do take a few minutes to read the whole thing. If nothing else, it’s impossible not to feel the love coming through Ben’s words.
And, of course, you can see Ben and Erin in action when new episodes of Home Town air Monday nights at 9 on HGTV.
(Photo credit: Home Town Ben Napier via Instagram)