As spring time approaches, the sun is coming out, the rain clouds visit occassionally and the grass grows and grows. This is a signal in the Midwest that yes, finally we can get rid of the 6 months of winter everyone complains about. A favorite pastime of every kid was that first time they cut the lawn under the watchful eye of Dad. I can remember it like it was yesterday, and I am sure if my Dad was here too, he would remember it in a much different way.
I was about 10 and I felt like I was a big man getting ready to cut the grass. I listened patiently while my Dad explained the intracicies of the lawnmower. I thought to myself don’t you just pull the cord and go? But it had to be much more detailed than that, especially when it came to my Dad. Then after we wheeled the lawnmower out of the garage, he proceeded to tell me exactly how he wanted the grass cut. I listened but thought, don’t you just go up and down in straight lines? It was 90 degrees out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky on that May afternoon. I had a baseball cap on and I was ready to go. I thought how bad could I do?
I started mowing the lawn and the mower took off on me at first and I ended up nicking a wood border that some flowers were on. I thought thank god, I didn’t take out the whole flower bed. I was going along having a good old time but I noticed my Dad didn’t from the spot he started at on the patio. Every time I would go buy him he would either try to yell over the lawnmower which I couldn’t hear or make frantic hand gestures like a third base coach trying to wave home the winning run.
I was in the middle of the lawn and now he started walking with me and I finally turned off the lawn mower and listened to what he had to say. I can’t honestly remember what he even said. But I didn’t even make it past the return strip of lawn when I heard him trying to yell at me over the lawnmower. I thought to myself that’s it. He is just not leaving me alone. So I turned the lawnmower off again listened to what he had to say and then walked out of the backyard into the house. I didn’t even get into the house yet when I heard the lawnmower going again. My Dad I think secretly wanted to mow the lawn because frankly he was a big pain in the butt while I was mowing it.
I don’t know if he didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that I was growing up, if he didn’t want to give up control, or if he really thought I did not know the history of lawn mowing but it was an absolute disaster. Talk about no patience. So for all of you dads out there, enjoy the times spent with your kids. Celebrate the triumphs, correct the mistakes, but so what if the grass isn’t perfect. Look at it this way, you didn’t have to mow it, so be thankful. If one or two blades of grass isn’t perfect, don’t worry life isn’t either.
Let simple events like this be memories you can look fondly back at instead of wondering about the disaster it could turn into, because it was your way or the highway. I still haven’t mowed the lawn since. I will someday again, but as I have learned it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Always a friend to listen,
Eric Tomei-author I Miss My Dad…
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