When I was a little kid my dad always used to mow the lawn. I remember watching him from the other side of the window or screen door. He would roll this rickety lawnmower out from the garage and roll it half-way down the driveway. I’d dart from room to room to watch him walk down the drive way.
At first I’d open the door to the garage just a crack and peek out as he moved things out of the way. If he saw me he’d ask me to hit the garage door opener. I loved that job! For a long time he’d have to walk over and pick me up to reach the button, but he still let me do it. 🙂
As he rolled the lawn mower out I’d shut the door and hop to the side door in the family room. I’d pull the curtain aside and peak out at him. When he took a few more steps I’d run out of the family room and slide across the kitchen tile. I’d sneak behind the microwave cart and peer out the small kitchen window. In a few more steps he’d be out of view again.
From there I’d back out from behind the cart and run into the dining room. I’d flip behind the thick floor length curtains and push my face against the window, trying not to bump into the air conditioner. Sometimes he’d stop the lawnmower right in view but other times he’d roll it just a little further to get it even with the front yard.
On days that he kept walking I’d steer around the air conditioner and run a lap around the dining room table. I’d swing open the front door and peer through our screen door, flicking the latch open and shut. Sometimes I could see him just around the edge of our large barberry bush but once in a while I’d sneak out on the front stoop and gently close the screen door behind me so he wouldn’t hear.
My favorite part was next! My dad’s lawnmower had been with us for a long time and for as long as I can remember had been picky about starting. My dad would bend over and grab hold of the starter cord. His long black ponytail would flop over the shoulder of his bright pink t-shirt. He’d give a sharp tug and bring the cord above his shoulder. The mower would shudder and seize. Once, twice, sometimes a third time. Then the familiar whir of the lawnmower giving in. My day would pull a rag from his back pants pocket and wipe his forehead. He’d stuff the rag back in his pocket and push the lawn mower into the grass.
I would spend the next couple hours watching him methodically move through the front, side, and back yards. Every once in a while I’d hop from my perch and tear through the house as he disappeared around the corner. I’d climb up into the next window trying to peak through the curtains to find him. I could watch for hours. And I did.
I wonder if he knew how much I adored him. Did he know I was watching the whole time? Did he know I refused to play with my sister and refused to help my mom with chores because “please I want to watch daddy”? If he knew he did a good job of acting like he didn’t. I thought I was being sneaky and he let me have that.
I’m not sure why but that’s something I’ll always remember about my dad. He seemed like the biggest, best person in the world. So smart, strong, and amazing as he.. mowed the lawn? Haha, I don’t know why but that’s what I thought when I was little. I wanted to grow up and be just like him with my own lawnmower.
One day I hope I can figure out how to tell him how much those moments meant to me. How much he still means to me. Hopefully he’ll understand.
With Love, Mia
Nov 25: Today I am thankful for living in a safe neighborhood.