I did not know that having a large yard meant a large amount of work when we moved in here. It looks so peaceful and relaxing to live out in the country on a big plot of land. My own little piece of the Earth. Well that little piece of the Earth has turned into one big time sucking amount of care and time to maintain. So this evening, I find myself, yet again and again, on the lawn mower. I find my 8 year old son yelling above the roar of the motor for me to STOP! MOM! MOM! STOP! I pretend not hear him but he is relentless. I turn the thing off, which is a multi-step process in itself, wait for the roar to die down, and ask him to please repeat what is so vitally important. “Mom, play with me in the sandbox!” My heart is torn – I mean, come on, how many more years is this little guy going to be asking me to play with him? Cease the moment! Take it in! The grass can grow longer! The boy wants you now! Then I look around at the yard infested with long dandelions and overgrown clumps of grass.
I make a decision and I tell him no.
The mommy guilt pleads at me and pesters me and threatens my well being, but I hold strong. Child, I say. I need to get this lawn mowed. Then I will be happy to come and play with you in the sandbox. Please let me play in the sandbox with you…AFTER I mow the lawn. He cries and whines and looks at me with those tear filled big brown eyes and I tell him again. Son. Boy. Take it easy. Life requires us to fulfill responsibilities and that does not mean we do not love each other. It just means that we are responsible citizens and we care about what we own enough to care for it. And child, that means you. I care enough about you that I will show you how much I value taking care of what I own. And kid, you can learn to wait. You can realize that you can’t always have what you want right when you want it – even if what you want is your mama.
Ok, so I don’t share quite all of that with him, but I think it as I continue on with the lawn in full awareness that he is grumpily wandering the lawn like a lost puppy. He will be ok, I reassure myself. I keep an eye on him as I round each corner. I close in on the shrinking square of overgrown yard and with each strip of cut lawn, I see him looking around for something to do. He lands on scratching the dog’s big old belly. He sits there with the dog and begins to relax. My square is just a few turns away from done.
As I finish it off, I notice the kid in question running around with his little sister. They have found something to occupy them.
MOM! Are you done now? Can you play with me now?
Of course, child. You betcha.
I head on over to the sandbox and watch him more than play with him. He looks up at me and smiles as he shows off his digger skills. He’s ok. The lawn is mowed.
We are enough. They are ok. They can wait. We can breathe.