This past weekend was the official first mow of the summer season 2021. Honestly, I should have officially mowed about two weeks ago but just hadn’t gotten around to it. I climbed the roof, blew the pine needles off, as well as cleaned all the gutters. My new roof looks new once again. Then it was mowing and bagging grass. Thanks to the dog our backyard was a healthy shade of green with thick patches where he fertilized. Weeds were pulled, then the same with the front yard. Had to do a little more raking as recent high winds dropped some small limbs all over the place. Within two hours or so we looked like we’re ready for summer.
The older I get the more I enjoy the yard work; the mowing, the raking, the leaf blowing, and the general beautifying of this little 1/3 acre plot I call home. Much like keeping a tidy home on the inside, keeping a tidy home on the outside is just as important. Why? Well because I’m what you call anal retentive. I shouldn’t care what people think of my landscaping abilities, but I do. But more than what they think, I just prefer driving home from work to a nice looking yard. I’m not a green thumb, though. I’m all about things that are hearty and don’t die easily. We’ve got some boxwood bushes and plenty of hostas. My wife planted some native plants in the back along the fence. They look like weeds to me, and if she hadn’t put the white wire fence in front of them I may have mowed them over. We’re heading into the third season with them and I’m getting quite used to their bright colors and overzealous growth.
The past week and into the weekend I’ve been kind of down for some reason. Couldn’t really pinpoint it, but there was this nagging feeling following me all week. Maybe a little mild anxiety, but more than that I just felt “blue”. Sort of felt like waiting for a cold to kick in, or a big cry to just hit me from out of nowhere. It was strange. Then Friday night my oldest texted me a picture she had found on an old hard drive or maybe in the cloud or something. It was of her and I and her two younger siblings back in July of 2005. My oldest was 5, our middle daughter was 2, and my son was 4 months old. I had the look of someone who thought he knew what was happening and had it all figured out. Or maybe that guy just had one hell of a poker face. So much good and bad was awaiting him. Lots of lessons to learn and behaviors to fix, but damn what a lucky bastard he was. To have those three kids to call his own.
I haven’t seen my oldest since January. First week of January, to be exact. This has to be the longest we’ve gone without seeing her. When she was at the Indiana Academy for her last two years of high school she was only an easy 2 hour drive south. We could visit whenever, even on a last minute kind of thing. And even at college she’s a 3 hour drive. Not as easy but still only 3 hours. Manhatten? Well there’s no easy drive there from Northeast Indiana. It’s texting, facetiming occasionally, and the intermittent phone conversation. I’m not much a phone conversationalist, so when my wife is talking to her on speakerphone I’ll throw in my two cents here and there. Mostly though, we text about movies and food and cool things she’s seen. This weekend she was Coney Island. Sent us a picture of the Nathan’s Hot Dog stand.
The wife and I leave in a week from this coming Wednesday to drive out to New York and move the oldest back home for the summer. I’m excited to have her back. Not sure how excited she’ll be to not have the Big Apple at her disposal, but hopefully she misses us enough that she will get over it quickly. I’ll be happy to have her back home, at least for one more year. She’s my oldest, my first born. We had three years of bonding before siblings started showing up. I can remember taking her to the Hallmark store in town so she could play with the Thomas The Tank Engine set they had set up in the back for kids to play with while mom and dad perused the Yankee Candles and overpriced greeting cards. Or trips to the library and to rent Scooby Doo DVDs at Blockbuster. Her and I are a lot alike, as much as we’re opposites. She gets her adventurousness from somewhere else, though. Leaving home at 16 to live two hours away for high school was something I don’t think I’d ever could’ve done. Or move to New York and live on my own for three months at 20. As much as I want to say I love the adventure of exploring new places, I’m really just a homebody. I have so much respect for what my oldest has accomplished. I can’t wait to see her and tell her that in person in just under two weeks.
All that yard work has me pretty sore. Back spasms, stuffed-up head(thanks seasonal allergies), and general mystery pains had me rattled all day Sunday. Barely slept Saturday, too. Took a 10mg Melatonin and it somehow did the opposite of what it was supposed to do. I was lying in bed with twitches in my back and thinking my heart was palpitating, which then made me panic. I’d fall asleep for an hour or so, then wake up to my stomach gurgling like a garbage disposal. Anxiety and every little noise was causing me to go into fight or flight mode. It was fantastic.
I want to go back in time and tell that guy with those three little kids at the kitchen table with the still decent head of hair to savor the insanity. No matter how loud and nutty it gets with those little ones, you’ll look back on those times with longing and much love. Even though the lack of sleep or funds in the bank account say otherwise, those were pretty simple times. Changing diapers and watching Spongebob Squarepants and What’s New, Scooby Doo is nothing compared to senior pics, filling out FAFSA forms for your college kid, and deciding what day to have open house.
I’d also tell him to lift with his knees more and grow his hair long one more time.