Have the parallel lines in your yard left behind from your lawn mower ever made you cry?
Yeah… me either.
Until last night.
It’s been a crazy week for our family. On Tuesday, at the lovely and talented wife’s 39 week pregnancy appointment with the midwife, we were told that her blood pressure was too high, she might be preeclamptic, and that we needed to induce labor. After a lot of Googling, another appointment on Wednesday, a couple of really pleasant medical tests (one involving a large gallon jug that she had to fill with her urine over a 24 hour period), bed rest, a walk of shame with the aforementioned jug to the lab, several hours of deliberation, lots of prayer, and a second opinion, we finally decided the induction, though not how we wanted our daughter to enter the world, was what was best for both she and my wife.
At 6 a.m. on Thursday, we arrived at the hospital to start our journey. And while this could be a post about how studly my lovely, talented, and clearly bionic wife was throughout her 16 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing WITHOUT an epidural, I’m going to skip that and save it for another post.
Fast forward through all that to Saturday, and we were still in the hospital. The baby (taking after her mother) was already proving to be quite lovely and talented herself. She passed all her tests (APGAR, Jaundice, Heart Scan, etc.) with flying colors and all the doctors and nurses kept telling us how perfect she was. The lovely and talented wife was not so lucky. She was having pretty serious shortness of breath, a racing heart, and drops in her blood pressure every time she stood up and they were worried she might have had a pulmonary embolism, which is fancy shmancy medical language for a blood clot in her lungs. After two rounds of blood work, an IV with a saline drip to hydrate her, a CT scan, an EKG, a chest X-ray, an injection of blood thinner, and lots of sitting/standing blood ox readings, they finally ruled out the embolism and decided that she was probably just dehydrated and exhausted from 16 hours of labor and 2 hours of sleep in a 48 hour period (DUH!!!) which was slowing down her body’s process of replacing all the blood she lost during and after delivery which was causing the symptoms above.
This was about 8 p.m. last night.
Relieved that my wife was not, in fact, in mortal danger, my mind began to wander back to much less important things such as the fact that we were going to have to stay a third night in the hospital and I had only packed enough clean underwear for two nights.
My mother-in-law, who has been a God-send throughout the last few days, volunteered to stay with her lovely and talented daughter and granddaughter while I ran home to grab a pair of clean underwear and another change of clothes for today and I gladly took her up on her generous offer.
So I kissed my two favorite ladies in the whole wide world goodbye and headed to the parking garage with the keys to my mother-in-law’s minivan.
Twenty minutes later and I was pulling up in our driveway. It was after 9 p.m. and so it was dark outside, but from the illumination of the headlights I saw one of the most beautiful sights these two eyes had ever beheld. My grass, which was already starting to trend a bit to the long side when we left for the hospital on Thursday morning, had clearly just been mowed. Maybe it was the fact I had only had 4 hours of sleep since the previous Wednesday night, or maybe becoming a new father to the most precious little girl I’ve ever seen has made me just a bit overly sentimental these days, but either way, I literally started crying at the sight of the perfectly straight mower indentations that were now running across my lawn in every direction.
On Wednesday night, back before I became a dad and was still all footloose and fancy free, I had remarked to one of the visitors to our house the night before our induction that I wasn’t sure how or when I was going to mow my lawn between the birth of our daughter and the time when the legions of our friends and family started showing up over the course of the next few days with all kinds of support and food. The lawn perfectionist that I am, I told him how embarrassed I was going to be for people to see my yard like that. And though I realize how completely and utterly absurd that is… especially considering that 75% of my front yard is overgrown with crab-grass and will therefor not be winning any yard of the month awards anytime soon and not to mention the fact that real men probably don’t give a hoot about what other people think about their lawns anyway, I was frustrated by the situation nonetheless.
Earlier in the day on Saturday, this same friend had called and told me that he was at our house and was about to mow our yard. However, in the middle of our phone call, a woman in scrubs entered our hospital room and started trying to explain to us what was going on with my wife and so I abruptly had to get off the phone with him. Since there really was no time to reflect on how awesome this dude and his gesture of kindness was, I quickly moved on to more pressing matters… such as the health of my baby mama.
Until I pulled into my driveway later that night.
Where I just sat for a few moments and admired my freshly cut grass and the kindness of a man who simply heard me mention something in passing and turned it into an amazing act of generosity.
And that’s what real men do. They listen and look for little cues on ways to bless other people among the static and noise of every day life. And when a real man happens to stumble upon a cue that says, “Maybe this guy has enough stuff to worry about right now without having to worry about how his lawn looks when his friends and family show up to meet his daughter,” a real man takes action mows the other dude’s grass.
While you might not guess it from all the crab grass in my lawn this summer, I’ve always been pretty serious about the way my lawn looks. I think I got that from my dad. I love the way it looks right after it’s just been mowed as I sit on my front porch stewing in my own sweat and dirt as I sip on a lemonade and admire my handiwork. There’s just something about the smell of freshly cut grass and the way those indentations from the wheels look when they make perfectly straight parallel lines across my yard that warms my soul. But I have never, I repeat NEVER, cried over the beauty of that sight.
Until last night.
To the man who mowed my grass yesterday, you sir, are a rock star. I appreciate your kindly, generous, manly ways. I don’t know how or when, but I will make it up to you some day, I promise. Who knows, perhaps your yard will need to be mowed after the birth of your first child as well.
Until then, keep being awesome. You know who you are.