Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's is Such a Beautiful, Beautiful Sight!!

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When I was a younger mother, I would cut the all of grass on our place including about half of the weed eating. It varied from 5-7 acres depending on what we decided to keep clear. This isn't the perfectly smooth manicured LAWNS you see in the suburbs either. I live in the rural south. We don't mow lawns; we CUT GRASS here. It is a hot, bumpy ride cutting tough vegetation that might be better called tiny shrubbery. 

Before we go any further, I want to assure you I am not afflicted. I chose to cut the grass as a way to bless my husband and free him up for more time with the children. It was very, very hard cutting all of that grass with very-estrogen-prejudiced equipment while keeping the needs of my active young children met. 

I'd run outside and cut during nap times. I'd keep the slightly older, non-napping children in sight on the deck while I cut a safe distance away in case a mangled GI Joe shot out from the mower blades. If the baby was awake, I'd put them in a swing in the front door so I could see them through the screen. We used hand signals to tell the oldest child to check on the baby every few minutes or for them to tell me they needed me to change a diaper, help them with something, ...or run in, clean up myself, and breastfeed an infant. Of course, my child that needed potty help would have to go every-stinking-five-minutes! 

I'd hop off the mower, put on a load of laundry in the washer, hang the load I just took out on the lines, and hop back on the mower. It wasn't just cutting the grass but picking up the entire yard of things that had been left behind by little hands and feet...and even the husband I was trying to help. When I failed to spot something, I had another 10 minutes added to pick up all of the pieces. Sometimes I'd have to stop cutting the grass and use the mower to herd the goats who decided it was an opportunistic time to escape and enjoy the buffet we call our vegetable garden..or fruit trees..or berry bushes. They didn't really care which as long as it had a high price tag. Goats have expensive taste buds. The more you value it, the more they want it. 

Then there were the May flies, biting gnats, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, tree frogs, and grass spiders that would land on me. Once, I looked over, and there was a very long black snake keeping pace with me. That really creeped me out! I really did want to help Clint out, but I refused to cut that area for the rest of the year. Nope, nada, no sir, no thank you, done, I quit. 

My fair skin still suffered from the sun despite itchy straw hats and sunblock. As my trainer friend informed me, I am an "efficient perspirer" because I often do the heavy kind of work. My body knows how to cool itself quickly. She says it is a good indication of fitness and health. She hasn't seen me when I am dripping wet and completely covered in bits of grass making my already sensitive skin itch like mad. Between the bug bites, sunburn, sweat, and grass bits, I was literally a hot mess! Of course, that was always the time I'd receive the blessing of company. Sigh.

Then I had moments that took a while to get over like when the frightened fledgling robin flew down from a nest straight between the front tires towards the mower deck! There were the scared-silly bunnies which darted back and forth in front of the tires on every single pass!! I tried to "brake" for a turtle and rolled to a stop with the front tire parked right on its shell. Despite their suicide attempts, I never killed anything I saw other than a poor bullfrog. Between the mowing, children, chores, livestock, and wildlife, there were some insane moments! 

With the interruptions, I knew I barely had enough time to get it done, so I put that mower in FIVE and let her ROLL! I didn't slow down for anything except children and critters. Mindful of the weed eating job that followed, I'd cut as close to flowers, herbs, bushes, and trees as I could. Sadly, the vegetation suffered a few minor casualties. I set that deck as low as I could so I didn't have to cut it again so soon. "You'll kill your grass," a friend warned. "Good!" I replied. That is a myth, by the way. I have had the blades eat earth, and the grass still came back!

I'd have to do my day's worth of chores and clean up the mess the children made on the deck. I'd do my best all day and IF the moody mower would cooperate, I'd be nearly done by time Clint got home. Then I'd pray for strength and sometimes an attitude adjustment during a much needed shower while Clint watched the children. Then, we needed a meal, so if I hadn't put one in the crock pot that morning, I had to cook and clean up from that too. Sometimes Clint would take us out to thank me! 

Those were some very hard and very busy years. No matter how challenging the task became, I never thought "I can't." I thought, "I can do this if I can find a way around the obstacles." If something didn't work, I'd analyze the situation, and try to find a way to make it work. While I certainly lost my cool sometimes, I mostly maintained an attitude of joy and thankfulness for the equally hard working man I love, our land and fertile soil, healthy children, milk producing goats, my health and strength, and our "park like yard" as visitors call it. 

Focusing on the blessings kept me appreciating them enough to want to work hard to maintain them in spite of the challenges. Giving my all for my husband and children like that made my husband fall in love with me in a new way. It also showed him I am more than willing to do my fair share of work to reach the goals we set for our family together. Overcoming obstacles and working through challenges built confidence and patience in me. It was hard and nearly drove me crazy sometimes, but it had a lot of value.

There was the time when the mower made this awful noise while blowing chunks of metal all over the yard. Things like that never stop right there. OF COURSE, that was a time the dog had wandered too close, and she was hit by the sharp debris. And OF COURSE, she was scared and ran like crazy from everything, including me. I had to chase her down to check her over. I couldn't reach Clint by phone because that was the same moment things at work became hectic for him. So I put out the word to a brother-like friend who told me it had FINALLY DIED  a blown motor. Killing the thing didn't work. Clint just bought another one...just as ornery as the other.

After reading a little of what it was like maybe now you can imagine how loudly I rejoiced when one of my children's butts was big enough to keep the mower seat compressed so the motor would run! Shortly afterwards, I nearly died from the combined ecstasy when Brandon was taught how to use the weed eater. While I still help when needed, those days of being the main Cutter of the Grass are well behind me. Even so, I STILL get giddy with happiness when I see my children doing it!! 

...because it's NOT ME!!!