July 16, 2013
Back when I thought we "needed" to move, a bigger backyard was probably on the top of my list of "reasons." You know, for the kids. So they'd have room. To play.
(Because....clearly. They don't have that. At all.)
Our backyard isn't perfect. It's on the larger size for our townhouse community but still not what I considered ideal for three growing children, or for entertaining more than like, two additional people. We're not allowed to have swingsets or playsets that are taller than the fence. The drainage isn't great so the grass is perpetually dead on that one side and a couple hours in the sprinkler means the whole yard is vaguely swampy for the next two days. The soil is crap. Our gardening options are limited to what we can grow in containers on the deck. Blah blah, whine whine, nit, pick.
I remember my childhood backyard being huge. I remember endless stretches of grass and a tree swing and a secret fort in a wide hedge of bushes and having room for a swingset AND a slip-n-slide AND a sandbox AND endless adventures. I wanted something like that, for them. (Though I fully admit I was being willfully obtuse to the reality of CARING for something like that, yes.)
Noah never wanted to move. He was adamantly opposed to it. The whole business became the "M-word." I tried to assure him that we won't move very far, that he probably wouldn't change schools and we'd take everything with us and that it would be fun and awesome, because a YARD! A BIGGER ROOM! Your OWN ROOM! And did I mention the YARD? The mystical hypothetical YARD of HUGE?
One morning, after getting on the school bus, he rushed to an open window just to scream "I'M. NOT. MOVING!" at me (and the crowd of other assembled parents) as the bus drove off. He'd pull stuff out of bins and boxes that I packed up for storage. He'd sneak back downstairs after bedtime to make sure I hadn't put anything else out on the curb.
(Because RIP two red plastic Ikea kids' chairs that he never sat in once in his entire life, that none of them ever sat in; two red plastic Ikea kids' chairs that suddenly became his most cherished precious possessions once I put them outside with a "FREE" sign on them; two red plastic Ikea kids' chairs that I will never, ever be forgiven for giving away.)
"Our yard is FINE!" he'd say, completely exasperated with me, whenever I attempted to win him over to the moving plan with talk of a swingset or tree fort. "Our yard is the PERFECTEST YARD EVER."
When I drove past the old house last month — on the same weekend we'd originally planned to put our house on the market, only to change our minds at the very last minute — I was almost ridiculously confused by it. The yard had obviously shrunk. Was it...erosion? Some kind of bizarre tectonic plate action happening in suburban Pennsylvania? There was no way the yard I remembered — a yard I spent hours of every day for years in — was the same yard I was looking at. How in the world did we ever fit a swingset AND a slip-n-slide AND a sandbox back there? The trees and hedges had all been cleared (probably for space), and yet the yard still looked so small and narrow and frankly, like quite a few yards Jason and I had driven by back here in Maryland, slowing to a stop by the FOR SALE sign, only to sniff and shake our heads because ehhhhhh, that yard's kind of small and narrow, don't you think?
So no, our yard isn't perfect.
But it's still the perfectest yard ever.