Connor’s third birthday party was held with a gathering of friends and family in our backyard. Our lush, green, carpeted-thick-with-grass backyard. We had just moved into this home about a year earlier, and everyone complimented me on “how wonderful your lawn looks!” Of course, being the smart-aleck pessimist that I am, I deflected all compliments by saying “Take a good look at it now, it’ll only get worse from here.”
I had no idea.
That same lusciously carpeted backyard now looks like a nuclear lawnmower testing site gone wrong out in Area 51 or something. Dead splotches everywhere. Straggly grass patches, struggling to poke themselves up wherever escape can be found from trucks, scooters, skates, balls, and fossilized socks.
And holes. Heaven help us, the holes. Holes and dirt mounds are everywhere, like we’ve been invaded by a herd of suburban anteaters. Or bombed relentlessly with enemy mortars. (Which is probably what our neighbors would prefer to be doing in response to all the noise.) Boys will dig a hole anywhere, with anything. But mostly they’ll dig it right in the middle of where nobody, for any reason, will ever need a hole. After hearing some sage advice from a veteran mother: “Every boy needs a dirt pile for digging in their back yard,” we thought this was a brilliant solution. I zoned off a nice, tidy corner and declared it “The Digging Spot,” knowing that we’d surely never see dirt on the lawn again.
This is what we got:
We also got buckets of mud carted all over the property and dumped in piles on the grass. Piles like Clifford the Big Red Dog did his potty breaks at our place. Honking piles of dumped mud, everywhere. Dirt isn’t good enough in the dirt spot. Boys must see how it looks when deposited atop something else. Something nice. Something green, that we can kill, or something dad will trip spectacularly over while searching urgently for lost pacifiers in the dark. Boys are hall of fame dumpers.
But we’ve only begun to mention the reasons your lawn is toast if you have boys. There are the plagues of ferocious insects attracted to every square inch of your grass by the vast feast of scattered granola bar remnants, popsicle drippings, and gooey candy wrappers. It’s like you’re the pharaoh and the boy is mini-Moses, calling down swarms of locusts attracted solely to the shining of those horrible, foil CapriSun pouches and their glorious “Mountain Berry Mist” residue. Let’s face it, does anyone believe that even ten percent of a CapriSun pouch ever even makes it inside the kid? Not a chance. It’s all bait for the bugs that are about to munch your yard into nothingness.
Attempting to mow what’s left of your lawn when boys are done is even worse, due to the debris field your mower is forced to withstand. Golf balls, large rocks colored with markers, silverware… Every mowing session is like a new episode of “Will it Blend?” and includes exciting new discoveries for dad, like “Wow. Never thought a tennis ball could unravel into string and wrap 294 times around a mower blade. Neato.”
But as you survey your landscape once the day is done, hoping the trim job might help the neighborhood “lawn of doom” look mildly acceptable, you stop pondering the shredded victims of your “Will it Blend” show and start asking the real question:
“Will it Live?”
Because when it comes to your lawn, the answer is no. It will not live. It will die a gradual and merciless death, with boys hounding it every second of the way…
Rest in peace, lawn. You are gone for now, but never forgotten.
For when these boys are 15 and pleading for a phone and texting and car insurance premium payments… I will avenge you, lawn. With their sweat, I will avenge you. And my word is my bond!