July 21, 2022
July 21, 2022
Before I had kids, I could see weeds.
The spring after David and I bought our first house, I realized that our front yard had a dandelion problem. I wanted to be a responsible neighbor—and also, like most new homeowners, I welcomed any excuse to buy a nifty new tool—so I purchased a gardening gizmo with a sharp fork on the end. Whenever I'd spy a new flash of yellow in the lawn, I'd grab the tool and pounce. All that summer I waged a war against the weeds, and was mostly successful. I felt like a grown-up.
A few years down the road when Madison was a toddler, my relationship with the front yard evolved. Madison loved the dandelions—picking them, putting them in water, clipping them in her hair, making necklaces. How could I get rid of something that was giving her so much pleasure? Also, I had a lot more on my plate than in years past: I was balancing caring for Madison with preparing for her soon-to-arrive sister and managing the recently-launched KidsOutAndAbout.com. There was no room on my to-do list for manicuring the lawn, so the weed puller went up on a shelf.
Fast-forward to several years past the Dandelion Enchantment stage: David and I were homeschooling the girls and shuttling them between activities, KOAA was expanding around North America, David was teaching and doing research. The bandwidth we had available for noticing the state of the lawn was restricted to wondering fleetingly whether we could get away with one more week before it had to be mowed. If one of us had thought to ask what we should do about the dandelions, the other would have answered blankly, "Do? About dandelions?"
I'm glad to report, though, that life has rhythms just as the growing seasons do. As kids mature and start to manage their own lives, a parent's bandwidth frees up, and you start to notice things about your world that have been off your radar for years. This past weekend, David pointed to an overgrown part of the yard and asked me which plants were weeds he could pull. I suddenly realized I could see them again.
I bet that gizmo is around here somewhere.