We have recently expanded our yard. In the new area, we prepared the soil, fed it fertilizer, and spread grass seed. In the time since we’ve faithfully watered. We watched the black dirt anxiously awaiting some sign of life. Then almost magically it appeared. Little blades of green emerged from the dirt stretching toward the sun.
Over the upcoming weeks, we will be careful around this baby grass as I call it. Then before we know it we’ll be mowing it. Quickly, it will have grown into something beautiful and self-sufficient. Sound familiar?
Last weekend our boy used the lawnmower for the first time. He is nine and getting him to help pick up sticks or rake can be a struggle. We have a pretty big yard and are the only ones on our street who don’t mow with a riding lawnmower. Our boy loves motorized things and is experienced with his own snowmobile and ATV. He has long said that “if we ever get a rider, I will mow.” My response has long been “yeah well you can start with a push mower”.
For some reason last Sunday was the day, maybe because he actually had real protective footwear on, maybe because he is almost as tall as I am, maybe because it was Father’s Day, but he asked if he could mow with the push mower and I said yes.
We were in a rush to get the lawn mowed and showers taken before heading off to a family BBQ. So a lawn mower lesson wasn’t in the plan, but such is life.
I instructed him on how to start it and he smiled as the old Toro roared to life. I attempted to tell him about which direction to go and overlapping his mowing path a bit. But he had a sudden burst of creativity which resulted in a wavy pattern with strips of tall grass between freshly mowed rows. I tried reminding him the importance of overlapping and showed him the tall blades he had missed, but he rolled his eyes and angerly said: “I know how to do it, mom!”
Despite it being his first time and my genuine desire to nurture his interest and encourage his ability nothing I said was anything he wanted to hear.
He continued to walk east to west and west to east until the backyard was done with the exception of those skinny strips of tall grass. His dad looked on and managed to keep quiet. The clumsiness of childhood sometimes clashes with each of our OCD tendencies.
In spite of the eye rolling our boy was eager to please. While I took over to mow the front yard he and dad set up the sprinkler to water the baby grass. Once I finished our boy excitedly shared with me how dad gave him for tips for the next time he mows. It was about setting a mowing pattern and overlapping. Yeah, the same stuff he had no time from me was now sage advice from his hero. Ugh. As a toddler, he may have repeatedly told his dad “that’s not how mom does it.” So I guess it is only fair.
This lawn mowing felt like kind of a big deal. Our little boy isn’t so little anymore. Just like the seedlings, he is growing up before our eyes.