It might have been the glorious color of bright, golden sunshine and promise hours of summer fun for kids of all ages, but it was - without a doubt - an instrument of the devil tossed out of hell to land on our sunny yard one hot June day.
“Son of a b----!” I yelled then quickly looked around to see if my husband had heard my outburst.
So far, so good. ‘Course, he hears me yell that particular phrase about 67 times a day, so the luster’s probably worn off.
I reached down and continued to peel back the yellow Slip-and-Slide, which revealed a rectangle-shaped piece of brown, withered grass underneath that not-so-coincidentally matched the size and shape of the plastic piece of you-know-what dangling from my fingertips at that very moment.
Ignoring the heat rolling in waves off the plastic, I quickly and roughly balled it up, threw it back on the ground and yelled, “Son of a b----!” again.
The Sherlock Holmes in me quickly deduced that during the time it’d been set up for our son to play on, the heat from the sun had soaked into the plastic and scorched the grass below like it took a direct shot from Marvin the Martian’s ray gun.
I closed my eyes in prayer. Dear God, if you love me....even just a little bit...you’ll make this disappear.
I slowly cracked open my left eyeball, peered down and said, “Holy crud.”
Remember my husband? He’s like - OBSESSED - about the yard. If even a tiny, friggin’ dandelion has the nerve to raise its little golden head somewhere in his magical green kingdom, he has a minor stroke. So how will he react to this?
I’ll tell you how - a mushroom-shaped cloud will suddenly appear over 1013 West Edwards Street and my next column will be dictated from the Other Side.
So I quickly contemplated potential courses of action, which were as follows:
- Run far and never look back.
- Mexico. Mexico sounds good. They drink margaritas all day. I can live with that.
- Be responsible and admit I fried the yard.
- Laugh hysterically at option #4.
- Keep my mouth shut. Wait until he notices, then play dumb. I can blame the six year old, the dog or aliens.
So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine what option I felt proved most worthy that day.
My son, after spending the day playing with his good buddy on the aforementioned Slip-and-Slide, walked up to me, put his arms around my waist and gave me a huge bear hug.
Either he broke something, stole something or ate something he wasn’t supposed to. Before I could begin narrowing down the choices he said, “I love you, Mom. I’m gonna hug you forever and never let go.”
Oh. A Dear Diary moment for sure. I reached down to hug him back and answered, “Forever is a long time, kiddo. What happens if you grow up and get a girlfriend. Won’t she be jealous?”
He thought for a moment and replied, “OK, I’ll just hug you until I turn 7.”
I nodded in agreement and said, “That sounds good.”
But before I could begin to bask in the glow of the knowledge that our little boy loved me above all others, he quipped three seconds later, “I’m hungry. I’m gonna get something to eat.” And off he went.
Just like that.
So much for forever. Kid couldn’t even make it five seconds.
That’s a man for you.
“Did you see what happened to the back yard?”
I was reclining on the couch and reading a book, thus pretended I didn’t hear him. Come on. As if that surprises you.
A tap on my shoulder followed my non-response.
“Hey, did you hear me?”
I jumped in mock surprise. “Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there.” I paused. “Have you lost weight? ‘Cuz, really, you’re looking great!”
I gave him a huge smile and a big “thumbs up” and returned my attention to the book in hand.
He grabbed the book, snapped it shut and asked, “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about the huge dead spot of grass in the yard, would you?”
Quick as a cat I answered, “Nope.” Pause. “But I think your son might.”
That’ll teach the little bugger to choose his stomach over love.