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My father-in-law had mowed for me while I recuperated from my recent hip problems. Both of the little girls heard the clamoring of the mower and bounded out of the house, down the deck to the patio and stared.
I knew what they wanted.
I remembered my own children's fascination with the mower- something that apparently loses its once brilliant luster as they grow up. Their unexpected interest immediately ushered in a wave of nostalgia from several years earlier with my kids.
I really miss those days.
They would take turns sitting on my lap and steering the monster while their mother looked on. Looking on as only a mother can- wringing her hands over some some unexpected cyclone or unforeseen obstacle that might upset their precarious balance, and at which point, they would topple to the ground and be injured, or worse yet-run over by the machine.
Somehow we survived.
So now, here these two little ones, who came into our life less than a year earlier, stood desperate to get a turn. I could see them, but the noise and distance made hearing them impossible and they knew it. I cut the blades off and headed in their direction.
"What are you doing, girls?
"We want to ride, Daddy," said the younger.
"Well jump on, but you have to take turns."
The older stepped forward first. I was relieved when no fight developed over the mowing order.
We rode for a while narrowly avoiding the metal overhang of the chicken coop, but not so fortunate with a large rock on the edge of last year's garden. The shredding/launching of a well-disguised golf ball shocked her even more, and sparked a screaming plea for a quick return to the safety of the patio.
I obliged and retrieved the other girl. Fortunately for the little one, all the other potential obstacles were past. We had clear sailing. She rode for about thirty minutes before we finally finished the yard. Suddenly, she began to cry when I cut the engine off.
"What's wrong," I asked?
"I just want to ride, Daddy"
"We're finished, there's no more to mow."
At once, I had the urge to crank the thing up and ride around some more, but we had places to go, appointments to keep.
Her sniffling slowly subsided as we walked back up to the house from the barn, but she made sure to ask if she could mow again. I assured her she would be first in line next time.
The grass grows quick this time of year.
I began wondering what she liked so much about it. We both sweated. The engine roared, offending our eardrums. The not so pleasant smells of gas and grass filled our noses. We bounced around on a hard seat.
I actually remember wishing at one point she were old enough to do it by herself.
But, maybe she just wanted to feel the warm sunshine against her skin, the cooling wind in her hair. Maybe, she just wanted to feel normal for once, to be distracted from the conflicts of the present, to preoccupy her thoughts with something less anxious. Maybe she just wanted to think about the tranquility of the right here and right now. Maybe she just wanted a brief reprieve from the burden of tomorrow's worries.
Maybe she just wanted some attention-to be inextricably linked to something, to someone...
for just a single moment in time,
all she wanted was to hop on,
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