Teaching an old dog ….


My dad needs to keep busy.

I shared a bit the other day about him and the garden boxes. The other day, when I was mowing, he came out and asked me if I’d let him mow sometime. Now, I love to mow. I enjoy the “quiet” (with my own thoughts), and the sunshine … it’s a little bit of heaven on earth. But I told him maybe he could help me (since the entire lawn takes hours).

Today, he came to me and asked if the keys were in the mower. I told him, “Listen, Dad. You can’t just get on and go.” The church owns a zero-turn mower, and there’s a method to “doing it right”. It’s an expensive machine, and Dad’s … well, he’s an old guy, you know? Mowing the acres is rough on you. It’s a bumpy ride, and a zero-turn involves a lot of adjusting. Constant adjusting, actually. It’s a mini workout, out in the sun, constantly jiggling.

I could tell my Dad was seriously underestimating the process by his flippant attitude.IMG_2784

But I promised. So, we headed out the shed. I showed him the basics, and he fired it up, and proceed to almost take out the garage door. We got it outside, and my little lion man and I dodged and wove so that Grandpa wouldn’t run us down. Seriously. I feared for my own life. I’m not exaggerating.

Eventually, though, Dad decided to take it slow, and he ran some circles around the lawn before engaging the blades.

“So, you want me to hang out … you know … just in case?”

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry about it … ” I am doubtful, but I don’t want to discourage Dad. A big part of him being here is that I predetermined that I would not treat him like a child. We’ll deal with things as they come along, you know? He’s a grown man, with a lifetime of experience and stories … I’m not going to reduce him to a toddler.

Still, I grabbed a book and headed out to the backyard swing. I was a ways away … across a couple of acres. I could see him, struggling at first. At one point he got off the mower, which of course cut the motor. And he didn’t remember that you had to set the parking brake to start it again. But I let him work it out … asked him if he needed any help … and eventually he spent 3 hours mowing, enjoying the quiet, the sunshine … and came in tired but satisfied.

This journey we’re on is one of discovery, for both him, my family … and me. Today was another win. Hoping the days to come are full of them.


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