Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Importance of Daddies at Day's End

As late afternoon winds find rest, the cloud of dusty flecks disappears from those last lingering rays of auburn sunlight hesitating over the treeline.  Early summer mosquitoes begin to buzz aloud, seeking a sweaty heat source while day's birdsong suddenly goes silent.

My oldest son, Wyatt, and I linger long near the swamp's edge to scoop up more tadpoles, maybe even catch one of the elusive, tiny frogs filling the surface under cover of night with bubbly, algae-colored eggs. 

Soon will come the slim green frogs and transparent geckos lining the walls of our house, all in search of moths ever-hovering near the porch lights.  Against a backdrop of rubbing cricket legs will come the squeaks of flying squirrels, the eerie hooting of owls on their tin-can phones, calling and answering from both sides of our house. 

In the midst of all this normal winding down at day's end with my family, husband noisily plows up the back yard plot of land he bombed with poison just two weeks ago.   Rain is coming tomorrow, the perfect time to break open the earth and scatter purple grass seed on bare earth.

While "poison" might seem a bit extreme, it's not...well, not if you live on a hay farm where the field is literally fifty feet from the front door.  For some reason, the Alicia Bermuda hay does not respect the invisible line between mine and theirs.  They don't even pretend to.  Instead, their runners sashay over into my yard, almost flaunting their transgression and daring me to do something about it.

Ceding the land back to the field isn't really an option, though, because the hay's open-sod nature allows too many weeds to take root.  The end result is a winter yard that is more weed than hay.  That's wonderful if you're Amelia and adore anything that can possibly be considered a "flower" but not so wonderful if you'd really like a real lawn some day.

And so, husband plows and rakes and then plants by hand.  It's not long before four little feet join in the "fun," two of which soon find freedom to squish bare in cool dirt.
Although it would go faster without their "help" and even though their assistance will put him finishing the task by headlights after dark, husband patiently bows his six foot frame to give the twins each a turn cranking the handle on the spreader.

Amelia and Emerson walk behind him, following in daddy's footprints, then run off in search of bright purple dots to cover with dirt, a task which grow harder with each dimming minute. 
Mother's Day is just three short days away and I know some men are going to be scrambling to find that perfect gift for the mothers of their children.  I like tangible "I love you" gifts as much as the next woman, but when everything is said and done, very little makes this mother happier than seeing her children spending time with their daddy.   This gift of time will last longer and have a more far-reaching impact than anything you can buy in a store.

There's just something about that lingering of a father and child at the close of each day that brings me peace and comfort, a heart warmth that says no matter how chaotic and uncontrollable life may be around me, here in this moment, at least, all is well.

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