It has come to my attention that there are literally dozens of survivor themed shows on television. I don’t mean reality television; I mean the Man vs. ‘Elements we have conquered for over thousands of years and should have the good sense not to subject ourselves to on camera’ shows. To my knowledge (which is admittedly limited as we have not had cable for over a year) there is not a realistic mom/wife-survivor show. I don’t need to watch one either. Why? Well, to quote Pirates of the Caribbean, “You’re in one.”
In this week’s survival episode I’ve crossed off all sorts of jobs that usually aren’t my cup of tea… painting door frames, furniture assembly, disposal repair… now there was one big task left to do before Hubby comes home.
The mission: Mow the lawn.
1) It has to be me. (Please sing ”It had to be you…” Thank you.) This week I’ve been playing the role of a geographically single mother. Sadly, my awesome husband has had to leave a training and drive 12 hours one way to commemorate the remarkable life of his grandfather. This is a big deal- he has about a million things to do this week and missed the death and funeral of his other grandfather during a deployment, so this was an important “divide and conquer” move.
2) Timing. With 6 appointments this week (21 hours total) and 4 hours on the phone to Tricare and factoring in nap times, daylight, and constant rain for 4 days, I’ve had exactly 2 hours available to mow. Sadly, I used these two to do laundry and shower so that the neighbors didn’t need to make concerned citizen calls to CPS or a Haz-mat team.
3) The mower ran out of gas at the last run. This means loading up the kids, putting the gas container into plastic bags, filling the container, rolling down windows and chanting, “I’m not a bad mom for poisoning my kids’ air” for the 1 mile drive home.
4) Oh yeah, kids.
It’s also KILLING me that I haven’t been able to tend to the yard. It’ ingrained. Since I was very young, my father made it a point to have a well-cared for lawn despite his frequent traveling. He would go out and do yard work in a shirt that read: “I fought the lawn and the lawn won.”
Once I heard the song “I Fought the Law and the Law Won”, it made sense. I also can’t mow without that song stuck in my head. I’ll send you the therapy bill, Daddy.
I’ve had a few false-starts. The last time I was going to mow, this happened.
Then this happened.
At 3:00pm I saw my very small window of opportunity. The baby was sleeping, the toddler was happily playing where I could see him through the window, the sun was shining but it was only 85 degrees and the day’s appointment was done… go time.
I threw on my ‘gross shoes’, bolted for the garage and grabbed the gas can. It wasn’t empty! There was just enough fill the mower completely! PLENTY to get the law mowed! HAPPY DANCE!
Well, this beautiful moment had to be seized! If I only had 15 minutes available to start off, the front yard was the priority. I jogged the mower down two strips and across to the main yard when suddenly a pint-sized streaker came bolting through my yard. This blonde child wearing only a diaper came giggling out and did a touchdown celebration across the porch. Where on EARTH was this child’s mother? Oh. Mowing the yard.
In my defense, the clean outfit had been sitting next to the table for when he finished his messy meal. Just then I heard a car coming up the street. HORROR OF HORRORS! It’s the same uncomfortable feeling as when someone sees you standing next to a leashed dog that is taking; the longest poop of its life. What if he bolted into the street and was hit? Wearing only a diaper?! I’d be arrested on multiple counts of recklessness and stupidity! I stopped the mower, ran after my toddler, threw him under my arm and jogged inside before the oncoming car could see anything. Once donned with shorts and a Spiderman shirt, we both returned outside.
Occupied with a ball to roll, Firstborn played while I mowed two more strips of lawn…until the red ball became stuck in a bush. Stop #2. Two more lines…Stop #3. Then a sudden interest in the grass clippings that fly out of the mower constituted stop #4. With only 8 breaks, the front yard was mowed. Then- miraculously- Firstborn followed me to the backyard and played happily while I jog-mowed the back yard in hopes that I would beat the baby’s naptime limit.
About halfway through Firstborn climbed the backyard Firstborn up into a lawn chair and watched me work for the duration of my mowing. He didn’t just watch- he lounged. I laughed and muttered, “Just wait a few years, Buddy.” One day my sons will turn from helpless to helpers- or at least be a blend of mess makers and mess cleaners. At the moment when I explain how I do chores they look like this.
Folks, I fought the lawn and I WON. Woman beat nature. Mom reigns victorious over the elements (except the element of surprise.) With only 9 interruptions, in under an hour, and without any injuries or public shaming lasting over 2 minutes.
Not a big deal? Well, it is for this girl. We girls who have to go-it-alone while our husbands are away for months at a time find a groove, but the transition is hard. Therefore, I will celebrate when I can do the ‘Dad jobs’ in addition to the ‘Mom jobs’ and extra jobs. As one inspiring friend said to me, during this season we won’t just survive- we will THRIVE.
So here is to God’s empowerment. Here is to the sun shining for an entire afternoon. Here is no 2 year olds listening and obeying when they are told to avoid the street. Here is to babies napping after long physical therapy appointments. Here is to a well-earned shower. Here is to all the people who encouraged and helped me!
Claiming victory over a lawn that hasn’t been mowed in 2 weeks means more than just striking something off the to-do list. It is a significant sign that I am capable of handling these obstacles. I won’t be overtaken by my surroundings. I won’t just survive. I will make sure Team Erkkila thrives.
What were your victories today?