Friday, November 18, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: Guest Post: No Time to Mow the Lawn

This is a guest post from Jeff Allanach, a newspaper editor in Maryland. Jeff is a married father of two children, and writes about fatherhood in his weekly column. You can follow Jeff on his Facebook page, Adventures in Fatherhood. Jeff contributes to The Father Factor today as part of The Thankful Campaign.

I stop the car on the driveway after a long day of work, and wait for the garage door to open. Tall grass stares at me from my front yard, and weeds sprout up around the bushes as though they were taunting my homeowners’ association. Both probably break whatever rules I agreed to live by when we bought the house, but I shrug. It just means a longer to-do list on Saturday, or maybe Sunday if the former gets away from me, which it usually does. Either way, I won’t find time today. I might not even find time this weekend.

As the garage door opens, the light shines dimly on jigsaw that still needs its blade replaced a year after it broke. It just means one more thing to buy on my next trip to the hardware store, but then again, I’ve made many similar trips since the blade broke and it still needs replaced. Maybe someday, but it’s not today. It might not even be this weekend.

I walk through the garage door, pass the cluttered living room and into the study only to place my laptop on the chair. My desk has no room for a computer between the stacks of magazines, assorted boxes, and other stacks of paper I’ve yet to sort through. It’s just one more chore to do, but I won’t do it today. I probably won’t even do it this weekend.

A novel that I need to revise sits behind the screen of my desktop computer, the one that has the beginnings of at least three other novels and assorted story ideas buried in its memory chips. I long to finish writing all those stories, but I won’t do it today. I probably won’t even finish them this weekend.

It’s never today, and it’s never this weekend, at least not in the 10 years since I became a dad. And for that I am thankful.

The grass is long because I’d rather spend my Saturday mornings this season watching my children, Celeste and Gavin, play in their basketball games. They look for me on the sidelines, and would notice if I wasn’t there. Grass doesn’t care if I cut it or not.

Weeds are sprouting up around the bushes because Gavin usually wants me to spend Saturday afternoons teaching him to ride a bike, or Celeste wants me to take her to the park, or it’s the only time I can take them to the pumpkin patch. Weeds don’t care if I pull them or not.

I can’t run up to the hardware store to buy a jigsaw blade on Sundays because of church in the morning, and the park or the library, or both, in the afternoon. The saw doesn’t mind its missing blade, and I probably couldn’t find the time to make sawdust anyway.

And I can’t find the time to finish writing my novels because it means time alone at the computer, and time alone at the computer means less time with my children. The novels might never sell anyway, so why spend so much time crafting stories people may never read?

So this Thanksgiving season, I will give thanks for tall grass, sprouting weeds, a broken jigsaw, and unwritten stories. If I didn’t have those things in my life, I would have less time with my children.

1 comment:

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