With every skinned knee and childhood scar, there is usually a glowing or harrowing story attached. Kid scars are like badges of honor or kid tattoos. Proof we played. Proof we fell and proof we got up and tried again and again.
Over the years our yard has also been the victim of scars. One glance and you can see where the grass slowly turned to dust where tackles were made, Wiffle balls pitched, and three-point shots mastered. Our once green lawn is now riddled with what I now proudly call YARD SCARS and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s why…
About five years ago when my kids were 8, 10, and 11 years old, they played football in our front yard with friends. Their field was about 25 yards long by 15 yards wide with our house as one sideline and a sidewalk on the other. Not ideal for most, but perfect for them. After playing night after night, our yard was riddled with yard scars.
As parents, we all know time passes quickly as our children grow up, so one would think to witness my kids playing hard, having a blast with friends, and problem-solving for hours would be calming and joyful. However, at the time, I was completely stressed out about our lawn’s appearance. Every bare spot worn out by dives and sprints were all I could see.
I slowly felt myself evolve into cranky, old Mr. Shannon from my hometown. This was a neighbor who took pride in his yard. Every week, he manicured his baseball field size lawn as if prepping for the Masters. But instead of golfers showing up, my friends and I did, merely to retrieve a few hundred stray passes that flew over his fence.
Back in the ’70s, the quality of your lawn defined your character as a homeowner and emphasized you were a good neighbor. Mr. Shannon was no exception. He would chase us off his yard as soon as our Pro-Keds broke a blade of his grass. So, using Mr. Shannon as a reference point for yard maintenance, I come by the stress honestly.
I also take pride in our landscaping but with all that football playing the once beautiful grass gradually faded from deep green to yellow, to tan, to just plain dirt.
Then a little thing I like to call perspective shook me back into reality.
God bless my wife. She had to talk me off the ledge. She REGULARLY reminded me we are fortunate to have active kids with friends who want to play OUTSIDE and at our house. If yard scars were our biggest problem, then consider us lucky. Then she’d add that line, as if reading from an empty nest script, “Imagine in five years when our lawn will be that boring, unscathed green …we’ll miss our scarred up yard soon enough.”
She was right. Perspective.
Five years later, my lawn looks crappier than ever and I couldn’t be more thankful! I still take the same pride in mowing, weeding, edging and blowing, but in a time when digital devices can often dominate a child’s day, my kids continue to appreciate playing outside. As a result, there are yard scars of different sizes, shapes, and levels of severity.
There’s a large triangular-shaped scar under our basketball hoop from the hours of shooting games they periodically play. Two of my favorite scars are the oval-shaped pitching mound, and the sunken and severely bare batter’s box from countless innings of Wiffle ball. First, second and third bases are also scarred so there’s no longer a need to drop Frisbees or sweatshirts as bases.
Above: Pitcher’s mound, batter’s box, and first base in our backyard.
Have you ever set up a badminton court in your backyard? If not prepare yourself for the utter destruction of nearly every blade of grass within the rectangular boundary. And if you play after a light to moderate rain, yard scars can quickly become a mud pit! AWESOME!
As I watch our children grow up and move away too quickly, here’s what I’ve learned. Enjoy the yard scars now, the grass will grow back.
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