No Good Deed

Our lawn mower is at least twenty years old, probably more like thirty, maybe even thirty-five. My husband spends more time each week fixing the broken pieces than he does mowing the lawn. After years of watching him stick parts back together with baling twine and chewing gum, I have decided he enjoys the challenge.

His grumbling doesn’t fool me at all.

This past summer, in addition to our own lawn, he and Younger attempted to help our elderly neighbors with their yard. Unfortunately, the size of the lawn was a bit overwhelming, taking the two of them three or four hours to finish the entire chore. So, as summer turned busy, my husband, at times, looked stress.

One afternoon, I decided to help.

Now, I have to add no one really lets me touch the lawn mower. Not exactly sure as to their reasons, but I fear that my gender may play a role.

Well, and maybe my lack of interest.

But that day, I told Younger, “I’m going to mow the lawn for your dad.”

He looked at me rather dubiously. “Do you know how to turn it on?”

“I’m sure I can figure it out,” I bluffed. Then I hedged, “Besides, don’t you know how?”

“I don’t know, Mom,” he drawled slowly. “I think maybe –”

“Oh, for goodness sake,” I muttered, pushing him through the door into the garage. “I can mow a lawn. Just help me get started.”

So, we fiddled with the different levers and buttons with him explaining the different gears — first gear, second gear, sixth gear, ignoring me when I shot him a look of death. I am not quite so mechanically un-inclined.

But eventually I was bumping along our front yard, ears covered by huge red earmuffs, totally proud of myself, already counting and spending the points I was earning.

Only, apparently, eventually, the baling twine or the chewing gum that held the deck at the appropriate level above the grass came loose and those traitor blades started whacking everything at basically ground level, including actual soil. And Younger, who must have been watching the windows for my inevitable failure, ran onto the porch, waving his hands and shaking his head while I viewed him through the cloud of dirt and grass swirling in the air around me.

“Mom,” he shouted, approaching the lawn mower cautiously. “No, Mom. I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to go. Maybe you should just wait for Dad. Okay, Mom?”

So the lawn mower and I limped back into the garage. And I’m seriously not allowed to touch the lawn mower now, although one would think my husband might have appreciated the several-week break he had from mowing.

Because, apparently, grass mowed to dirt level takes a little while to recover from the experience.

But that’s okay, I’ve decided I don’t want to mow grass.

That’s right. I mean, I can. Obviously, I don’t need permission — or Younger’s confidence. So, I can mow grass.

I can even mow dirt.

I just choose not to.

And that’s my story…





Life Is Funny

At the beginning of the football season, the coach asked the parents of seniors to each choose one Thursday night during the season to host dinner. My husband and I selected the Thursday night before the last game. We had two reasons.

First, we wanted to ensure that we would not accidentally choose a night when Younger had a junior varsity game, so we picked a night after his season was complete.

Second, we hoped to avoid taxing our memories with any actual dates. We just had to remember we hosted the football seniors on the Thursday night before the last game.

So simple.

One would assume.

Which was our mistake.

Let me tell you, I was proud of my accomplishments today. I vacuumed, bleached, washed, straightened, tossed, scrubbed, stuffed, and hid more than I have since my last party.

I baked chocolate chip cookies, Elder’s grandma made cinnamon rolls, and his grandpa brought us a cooler filled with drinks.

I dragged the card table and chairs from the basement, banging, clanging, and muttering my way up every stair.

At 3:00, I was confident, totally prepared for these sixteen football players to invade my home.

Then my phone rang.

“Mom,” Elder greeted me in a rush, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t call before. I’m sorry, but we are all going to Joe’s house tonight. They are coming to our house next Thursday. I’m sorry.”

I greeted him with silence.

“Mom? I’m sorry?”

I blinked. “Okay.”

“I love you, Mom. See you tonight. I’m sorry.”




“Bye, Mom.”

He did call before I ordered the ten pizzas.

I don’t know what we would have done with ten pizzas.

I’m afraid I do know what we’ll do with two dozen cinnamon rolls and four dozen chocolate chip cookies. Those divide up a lot differently between the four of us than sixteen hungry teenage boys. I don’t even do math and I have that figured.

Next week is the first round of districts, which might technically be viewed as the last known game of the season. Which might have been the last game listed on the sheet. Which might have been where the misunderstanding started.

Ten weeks ago.

Life is funny sometimes.

Let me know when to laugh.

Color Me Crazy

The changing seasons has reminded me of an old story from 2007. Younger would have been eight years old…

After a day of bowling pumpkins, dunking for apples and riding hayrides at the church, the boys were slumped in the back seat of the truck, expending only the energy required to push the buttons on their electronic games.  But after driving in silence for about twenty minutes, I drew their attention to the trees that were brandishing leaves of various shades of red and orange and yellow.

“Isn’t it amazing the simple pleasures God has given us?” I asked them.

“I know,” Younger agreed.  “The world would be really boring without color.”  He thought for a moment.  “Cats would be boring without color.”

Of course, his first thoughts are always about cats.

“There wouldn’t be any beauty contests,” he added.

I grinned.  But it was his next observation that really cracked me up.

“And we’d keep getting our flags mixed up.”

Ahh, Younger…You never know exactly where his thoughts are coming from, and you’re never sure where they’re going, but he always takes you for an interesting ride.

Another simple pleasure God has given me.

Picture Perfect

Last year, on the date of prom, Younger had a math contest in a town about two hours from our home. So, I barely skidded into the driveway before Elder was stalking from the house to his car still struggling with the fit of his rented tuxedo.

I got exactly two pictures.

One with his head thrown back in utter exasperation with his mother.

And one with his head hanging towards his chest in utter exasperation with his mother.

It’s a matching set.

But the other day, with the help of my sister-in-law, I filched from another mother’s Facebook page a few pictures taken of Elder’s group of friends. In all four snapshots, his chin was level, his eyes were not rolling around his head, and his smile even stretched towards his cheeks.

Apparently, the whole head-lolling thing isn’t actually an allergic reaction to a camera.

Which means the only person medication is going to help is me.