Building My RV-10 from My Wife's Perspective

This was written by my wife Andrea, not myself, in response to a recent discussion of building and family.

I can’t imagine building an RV10 without a spouse’s support.  It doesn’t matter if that support is emotional, physical or financial, or some combination of the three, but support and commitment has to be there.  With that, the build is very much possible and an incredible journey for a family.
In terms of emotional support, I was Tim’s sounding board.  He would talk to me about all the choices for instruments, how well things went last night or about an upcoming step.  On many occasions all I could do was listen, but I was there for him.  It meant “letting” Tim work the long hours on a weekend (and not complaining about it), bringing us always closer to the completion.  Together we stayed motivated with the dreams of flying the kids around the country, and quick get-a-ways to fun places.  We kept the kids into the project as well with talk to fast trips to Disneyworld and visits with Grandma and Grandpa. They tolerated the build process like pros.  What surprised me was how I did get emotionally involved with the project.  It was slow to develop, but as each part was completed, and things began to take shape, my excitement grew.  Tim and I joked about our “third child” with the long gestation time! The day Tim started the engine for the first time, and of course the first flight…my eyes were full of tears! 
Physical support comes in many forms.  During the entire build Tim did not mow the lawn once!!  (Tim:  Well, actually, I think I did mow at least one or two times....I did skip snow shoveling for all but the deep snowfalls though)  And we have an acre to mow.  I did help with riveting, deburring, sanding, and what ever else Tim needed.  Sometimes the viewpoint is different, I think I helped a lot, Tim wished I could have helped more, but the end result is still an amazing finished airplane.  Physical support from the kids’ perspective I find so rewarding!!!  There are so few kids that are 5 and 7 that realize you can build an airplane in your garage, and think it is normal!  Tim never turned them away when they asked to help, their tiny hands were great for holding rivets as Tim and I worked the wings.  Their help was always short lived and they would be on to playing, only sometime later to ask to help again.  (Tim:  Don't count on much for actual "help".  It was great company, but it slows you down instead of speeds you up, and once they get whiny it makes it even worse. ;)  )  They lived first hand and from watching Daddy, that hard work and dedication can produce something amazing.
Financial support depends on each personal situation.  For us it meant I for sure kept my job, and we watched the spending.  During the build I don’t think we ate out at all!! But once the plane is done, and can have some good experiences...  (We flew with another couple to downtown St. Paul, and took the courtesy car, a Jaguar to a great Italian restaurant for dinner!!)  ...suddenly the sacrifice seems worth it!
During the building process, support and commitment are crucial.  The extent of the support can vary with each family and what the family demands are at that time…either actually helping with an 8 hour day of building, or just not complaining when it happens.  Stay focused on the long term goal.  Did I love every minute of those 25 months of building? NO, and I know Tim did not either!  But I knew I would be happy when it was done. The last important key is communication.  Tim and I talked about the airplane a lot, we still do, and he made me feel like my opinion mattered.  That helped (and helps) me accept the entire process.  And sometimes it is a simple conversation over lunch that makes it all worth it...

We were watching the movie 16 Right with the kids.  There is a quick clip of a little boy standing behind the fence watching airplanes take off.  Tim says to our daughters, “When I was little I would watch planes like that and dream of flying.”  Our oldest looks at Tim and says “So your dream did come true Daddy!!”  It was a priceless moment to see Tim with tears in his eyes, answer her with a simple “YES.”

So in the end we have something the entire family saw from tiny pieces to a finished airplane.  Our goal is to have our daughters see each state in the Continental US from our airplane.  And the lessons they have learned from our trips so far are amazing.  Our 5 year old drew a picture of the family by water. She shows it to us and says we are by the Pacific Ocean.  I ask her what state are you in by the Pacific Ocean…Wisconsin, Oregon, or Florida.  She thought I was nuts because of course it is Oregun!  (She does pronounce it like she lives there).  At 4th of July with the sulfur smell from the fireworks, she leans over to me and says “Mom it smells like Yellowstone”.  Those are two great happenings that show why I helped rivet, and I can’t wait to see what the next happening is!!