Becky and I love to drive around and look at homes & neighborhoods- we’ve been doing this for twenty years. We do it all the time and it is our way to just spend a few more minutes of the day with each other and with the kids. The thing that always stands out to me in these neighborhoods are the houses with the nice yards. I love the way it looks when it is freshly cut and the lines are nice and even, especially this time of year, late Spring.
As obsessed as I am with it now, my Dad would tell the story a little different when I was a teenager. I hated to cut the grass back when I was a kid, like most kids, I had more important things to do in the summer… like sleep and go to the pool (where I would meet Becky). I remember that I used to race my brother to see who was faster at finishing up the yard (I cut it, he did the weed eating). I would literally run with pushing the mower to try and beat him. As fast was we were, it looked awful- you can imagine. The lines were everywhere and my brother would miss half of the weeds.
As bad as it looked, and it did look bad, my Dad would still come home from a hard day of working in a hot factory and would say, “Thanks guys… I appreciate you taking care of it… it looks good.”
Now that I have a house of my own I really work hard to make it look nice, the way it should look, the way it should have looked at my parents home when I was a kid.
For years, I would get upset when the kids would dig in the yard or even walk in certain areas of my yard.
Oh yeah, forget the slip’n’slides, that kills the yard for the whole season, really it does! But that was then.
Becky told me a quote once that stuck with me… and she reminded me of it again this weekend when we were out in back yard as a family, “We are growing men, not grass.” She would say that the kids will never remember how nice the grass looked when their Dad cut it, but they will remember when their Dad brought home huge water slide and they played on it all summer long. They wouldn’t remember how straight the lines were, but they would remember how they would play catch in the back yard. They wouldn’t remember how green the yard was, but they would remember how they used it to play Freeze Tag with him in the summer evenings.
Now I have not given up total control of the obsession for the yard. I have just made that piece of the pie a little smaller. I take care of the front and the kids have free will in the back and in the woods. As much as I like the way the front yard looks, I prefer to spend my time in the back with my kids, making memories.
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