Friday, May 4, 2012

"Just Ride, Daddy"

courtesy of
I mowed the grass for the first time this year.

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...

And perhaps,

for just a single moment in time,

all she wanted was to hop on,

sit down,

lean back,


courtesy of


SimplyDarlene said...

'Course every youngin' really wants something only their daddy can give too.

How come when I write a post about not having that, you write one about having it AND giving it to your girls? It's God-grande that you take the time to love your family and your kiddos whilst the sun/son is shining on!

In Christ.

Laura said...


I have missed your posts. This is a sweet one too :). We don't have a riding mower (postage-stamp yard) but I wish my two lazy teen-age boys were more excited about the mower :).

Jeff Jordan said...

Just read the post you are talking about, so I'm going to plagiarize my comments there in case you happen to read here first: Unfortunately there are too many little girls like you who grow up never knowing the security of that relationship. But, I'm glad you know a heavenly father...I'm glad you can see what you missed yourself in the man you married...and I'm glad you're still holding on to that fence rail...

Jeff Jordan said...

Always so good to see you, Laura. Amazing how excited my little ones were when the mower started back then and how they disappear when it starts up now. We only have a little over an acre of grass to cut and I used to push it sometimes for the exercise. Wouldn't mind doing it now, but I can ride it in about 1/3 of the time it takes to push.

caryjo said...

Maybe she just wanted to have some alone time with Dad....

Jeff Jordan said...

You're probably right. Thanks for stopping in...

Louise Gallagher said...

I'm not sure how I missed this story -- I'm glad I found it today.

so beautiful.

And true.

Sometimes, all we want is to ride.

but always, what we need is the human connection you so beautifully share.

Jeff Jordan said...

Nice to hear from you, Louise.

S. Etole said...

Some time with Dad ... what a blessing just to be with him.

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