Thursday, July 14

Good Shoes

Sometimes I tease my husband that to him, life is a Tetris Game: the way he puts away his clothes, how he organizes grocery items when we shop, the way he packs a moving truck when he's helping a is all done in the most efficient way possible, with no empty spaces anywhere. Just like Tetris.

It's the same way with his schedule. There are no empty spaces. Every block of time is scheduled and accounted for. He is a really busy guy. 

Last night, he was getting ready to walk out the door for the Young Men's activity at Church when his phone rang. Someone had referred him (and his talents) to someone else, and this someone else was hoping he could stop by and advise and loan his expertise. My husband pulled out his schedule, and found a flexible moment, and promised to stop by.

I listened to this exchange, and found myself wondering what I could do to help him out. There is so much he does that I cannot do, even if I wanted to (yeah, I can't go tell this random person how to integrate a cantilevered entry pavilion into the existing brick facade of their building). But I can pick up some of his regularly scheduled stuff here at home.

I balance the checkbook and pay the bills. This used to be his task, but I picked it up to cut him some slack. My oldest son and I do the trash and the recycling, also a former husband duty. I try to iron his shirts for him (not very consistently, but I do try). I'm even a pretty decent Executive Assistant and Social Secretary when he's in a pinch.

Last evening, none of those things was going to help him. So I decided to mow the lawn for him. That may not sound like a big contribution, but here, it actually is. We have a big lawn, and a little push-mower. He insists he likes mowing, it is mental downtime for him, and doesn't encourage me to do it on his behalf. In the five years we've lived here, I've mowed twice. 

But when he can't get to it for two weeks and counting, it just becomes one more thing to add to the pile of Responsibility and Stewardship.

And we live in a town that will measure your lawn if it gets too shaggy and possibly send you a letter telling you to mow your lawn or the city will do it for you and send you a bill. I kid you not. This makes my husband a little antsy about the height of our grass.

So, while he was gone to the youth activity, I strapped on my good shoes, and went out to mow the lawn. All the little children followed me out of the house to watch the spectacle of Mommy mowing. When the baby decided she couldn't be happy any longer, my nine-year-old spelled me on the mower. Between us, we got 2/3rds of the lawn neat and trimmed before my husband got home. 

I must say, it was not easy. I do not find mowing to be "enjoyable mental downtime." It makes me hot and tired and sweaty and gives me a headache. I am a round woman and our yard is mostly a hill, and I have little children who follow around like loyal puppies, which is not a safe or good thing when there is a lawn mower involved. None of these things makes mowing fun or easy for me. But I wanted to give my husband back an an hour and a half of his life, so I kept going.

I am grateful for good shoes. My hands hurt, and my legs hurt, and my head hurt, but my feet were just fine, and that is saying a lot. I am glad that, even though it's July, the evening was mild, and a cooling and balmy breeze was blowing; it made everything bearable. I probably would not have dared to mow without such favorable weather. 

I am grateful to my daughters who kept an eye on the baby so I could keep going as long as possible, and for the little girls who fetched me water and moved big sticks and toys out of my way. I am particularly grateful that there was extra gas in the gas can, so I didn't have to quit and drive to the gas station to refuel. I am sheepishly glad that, even though I am round and fairly sedentary, I can still be useful and push myself when I want (or need to). Mostly, I am grateful for a husband who works so hard and so diligently to provide for me and our children, and who gives so much service to our friends and family and in our community. I wouldn't have him any other way.

What are you blessed with today?

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