Like most parents, my time to get various chores accomplished is short. This week was going to be the week when I was going to get my backyard in order. The plan was that every day I’d spend an hour or so working on different portions of the yard. That way by spreading the job out I’d be able to give my kids the amount of attention they desire. The plan was foolproof.
Last night while working on the yard, my son brought out two water guns. As the legendary gunslinger Doc Holliday would’ve said, “One for each of us.” My son’s desire was to have a huge water gunfight. My desire was to trim the trees. After all, they were hanging over into the neighbor’s yard and needed to be cut. My son persisted but I told him no after no. His face drooped with sadness and his voice choked a little. His shoulders dropped and he turned back inside. Inside I said to myself, “I’m a stay-at-home dad. These kids get my attention constantly and I have to get this done.” From the top of the ladder, I could see a tiny person standing in the doorway. I slowly descended down the ladder and said, “There isn’t room in this yard for the both of us.” With that, a giant smile raced across his face. For the next 90 minutes, we had an epic battle which lead to both of us getting soaked. My son has several different laughs, but there is one laugh that stands out from all the rest. His voice hits a high pitch and his body shakes so much that it makes him slap his knees. His lips curl up so high it looks like they might reach his ears. That laugh was achieved last night. My son was having the best time and so was I.
The trees are going to continue to grow, but they’re not going anywhere. My kids are growing and someday they’ll be gone. I’m not making any wonderful memories with my trees and my trees don’t love me. Last night’s water battle will no doubt go into that portion of the brain that holds favorite memories for both my son and me. And to think that I almost missed out on the opportunity.