So I was lucky enough to have some extra time off work. I'm thinkin' I'm gonna take a nap, get some meat ready for grilling tonight, relax... you know, the whole nine yards! Woo-hoo!!! That is... until I got home and realized that the Lawn-Mowing Fairy -- hey! This one is MANLY, thank you very much! -- didn't visit my house. So instead, I put on my junky lawn-mowing clothes, my junky lawn-mowing shoes, and trudged outside to start the chores.
Here I am, day off early from work, and I'm STILL working... and not getting paid for this one! That's okay, though.... The satisfaction of a freshly manicured lawn is payment enough, right?
I'm just about to step outside when I hear thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, WHAM! A small human-shaped missile body-slams into me, at just the right height... if you know what I mean.... "Daddy! Daddy! Can I help too?!?" Mommy chimes in with, "He's been waiting to help you all day...."
Now I'm at a critical point in the decision making process: Do I say no and instantly evolve into the evil villain World's Worst Dad, who's alter-ego is the even more sinister Husband Living in the Doghouse... or... oh yeah! That's it!
One of the perks to becoming a father is that eventually you get to cash in on free slave labor. But, the laborers must be trained.... So I become the hero of the moment! Albeit one with ulterior motives....
An hour later, and a freshly edged and ready to be mowed lawn is all that stands between my three year old, me and ultimate victory in the on-going battle for manicured lawns fought all across the world! I get Black Beauty gassed up and primed. I reach for the ripcord, but a small fist has already closed around the handle. If only that young enthusiasm would last! He gives it a few tugs and looks at me quizzically. "Why it's not starting, Daddy?" I give it a couple good pulls... and sure enough... the darn thing refuses to start....
But then, when all hope has been lost, we spy that the spark plug cable has been disconnected! Deftly, I reconnect the line, give one immense yank on the cord, and Black Beauty growls to life, spewing smoke out it's exhaust like some kind of grass-eating dragon. Again, his youthful enthusiasm gets the better of him, and my son steps behind the mower, reaches just above the top of his head, looks up and back at me and says, "OK, Daddy! I'm ready!"
There has never been a more proud moment in a father's life than when his son willingly gets behind the lawnmower and goes to town. Granted, it took almost twice the amount of time as it would have had I simply worked alone. But every hero needs a sidekick. And every sidekick needs training to become the next hero.
For an hour, I was that hero. Hopefully the next moment will be just as cool.