For those of you who know me…really know me, you are keenly aware that I cherish my backyard. It is a welcome oasis at the end of a busy workday. It is a sanctuary for wildlife from birds to bunnies, from spiders to squirrels. It is a haven for family and friends. It is living space outside our home, made up of little rooms with floral centerpieces, statuettes, and the sound of trickling water. This year I even installed a croquette court to add to the allure.
I work hard to make this space appealing and it’s taken shape over nearly 18 years of constant care.
Despite my adoration for my yard, there is something I cherish even more: My family. My wife of 32 years always offers a welcome embrace at the end of a long workday. She is funny, ornery, loving and filled with passion for justice. My oldest son is strong and loving, always willing to take time to listen to those in pain. He is genuinely a gentle giant who will fight for the rights of others and wears his emotions on his sleeve. My daughter is brave and compassionate, ever ready to help a friend, whether that is by offering a ride, $5 of her own hard-earned money, or a listening ear. My youngest son is creative beyond words using music and poetry to express himself. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy but would give you the shirt off his back if he thought it would make a difference.
Like the yard, this family unit didn’t happen by accident. It didn’t simply sprout up overnight. The love and care we have for one another, the respect we show to each other developed through careful pruning and a deliberate attention to detail. Like the yard, some mistakes have been made along the way, but we’ve learned from them and witnessed the benefit of careful communication and an open mind.
Let’s be clear, our family isn’t perfect. But there is no group of people I’d rather spend time with on a quiet summer evening. If we can spend time together in the backyard of my dreams…then that’s just fine with me.