Every once in a while, Jake truly surprises me.
He shows signs of growth and maturity all the time. He makes little incremental steps towards “normality” every week or so.
But sometimes, I’m just taken aback.
About two weeks ago, I was mowing the lawn. Our mower was being repaired, so I was using a neighbor’s (thanks, Troy!). The mower was very different from mine. Mine has the port out the side where the detritus is thrown, and Troy’s does not. Mine is loud, where Troy’s is quieter. His rattles more than mine. I only tell you these things by way of explanation as to what happened next.
Beth was grooming the dogs, and I was mowing the lawn. Jake came by, and to be honest, I don’t remember if he had his ears covered or not. I know for a fact that he wasn’t wearing his headphones, so it was weird that he’d approach me while I was mowing. He never has. He had been riding his bike around the block just prior to coming over. He can’t do headphones and bicycle helmet at the same time (not that we’d let him be that sensory-deprived on a bike, anyway).
Jake came up to me, mower running, and told me, “three hands, Ryan.” Have I mentioned he’s taken to calling me Ryan? Drives me nuts; which is probably why he does it. Have I mentioned he’s almost 12, going on full teenager? Not knowing what this meant, which isn’t a new feeling around Jake, I paused. He put his hand between mine, making three hands now pushing the mower. He followed me for a dozen or so feet before declaring, “Jake’s turn.”
I don’t usually let Jake command a machine with a combustion engine and a whirling blade, whose sole purpose is for cutting things, but I was intrigued.
He had the best time!
I had to teach him how to lift the front wheels to turn the device on a dime, and he caught on quickly.
He mowed all over the yard. He never went in a straight line for more than a few yards, but he seemed to be having fun.
I’ve always said, “The more of my crew I have helping, the longer the chore will take.” I’ve come to take this as just part of the cost of parenting.
I knelt and took a pic of Jake mowing towards me, and put it on Instagram and Facebook, and it was well-received. Jake’s always had people in his corner. For this, I am eternally grateful. Jake, of course, was panicked that he was going to run me over while I set up my pic.
Fast forward to last week: the lawn needed mowing again, so I set to work. This time with my repaired, yet noisy, mower. Jake came over and insisted that it be his turn again. He was pretty excited to “run over the flowers.” He made wide, circular and wandering paths, trying his best to flatten every dandelion, but without any regard for cutting the grass. Eventually, he let me guide his path and we managed to get a few rows of straight mowing in before he lost interest.
Not bad, I figure.
As always, it’s baby steps with Jake. If I play my cards right, I could actually have a pre-teen who’s excited to mow my lawn by summer’s end.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.