The Jacksons, Week 25: Revving Up the Lawnmower -- The Blood, Sweat and Tears

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

It took long enough, but spring is finally here.

And, thankfully, with it comes more chances for us to exercise and to tell the fat, "You're not wanted here no more."

I thought about this recently as I watched my son, Jackson, mow my parents' lawn during spring break. It was a good cardio workout for him, he would tell me later. Pointing to his abs, triceps and biceps, he said he could feel the [muscle] burn (one of his favorite phrases) and was glad that his heart, too, benefited from the exercise.

Most yardwork chores are instant calorie-burners, due to the rigorous exertion; but for Jackson, this day, it also was a trial by fire, as my dad showed him the "proper" way to mow the lawn. His delivery style was part drill sergeant, part doting grandfather. In his gruff and stern -- but knowledgeable and wise -- manner, my dad made sure Jackson was correctly handling the self-propelled lawn mower and cutting those weeds and overgrown blades of grass by the book ... or his book, anyway.

So after Jackson had revved up the motor and got the mower moving forward, he found himself retracing paths he had already passed over, at my dad's direction.

The scene provided me flashbacks to the times when Dad taught me something new. In particular, under his tutelage, when I was about Jack's age, I remember nerve-wracking moments spent learning how to play the card game gin rummy, which usually ended with me in tears. I haven't played gin rummy in years, but I remember the blood, sweat and tears that came along with learning how to play that darned game.

deidra jackson mowing grass picture

Jack gets in a cardio workout while his grandfather keeps him in line. Credit: Deidra Jackson

That much is forever burned onto my brain. And it looks like I'll never have a penchant to play gin rummy again.

Comparing notes as mother and son, Jackson and I agreed that his grandfather isn't really that harsh or insensitive; he's far from it. He's a good instructor. And Jack knows this since, among other things, dad has taught him how to golf, fish and ride a bike, in that order.

Jack reminded me of a talk that my dad had with him recently. The moral was: You don't judge a man by his tone, but by his words. It's not necessarily how he says something, but what he says that's important.

Jack plowed through the rest of the lawn as summer snow -- infrequent billows of yellow pollen -- rolled down my parents' street in a golden haze and permeated the air we breathed. Here, in North Mississippi, tree pollen is already wreaking havoc on the environment in "what could be one of the worst allergy seasons in recent years," say some meteorologists.

Watching Jack mow, my thoughts turned to wondering how severe this allergy season would be compared to the last, and how that might restrict our outdoor activities and impact our momentum in the Healthy Families Challenge. Our carefree plans to run, walk, skateboard and bike ride may be curtailed this time of the year as we flee the allergens and seek refuge in safe fitness environments indoors.

When my Jack was a toddler, chronic seasonal tree and grass allergies had him down and out for months at a time. But now that he's older, visits to specialists, changes to his diet, medications and a stronger immune system have lessened his more serious bouts with pollen sensitivities. A brief spell last November left him battling sinus and chest congestion, but it was, thankfully, short-lived.

In passing, I, too, occasionally, suffer from the coughing, the sneezing, and the red, itchy, watery eyes when pollen is in the air. It's frustrating when that yellow stuff can virtually hold you hostage indoors.

However, this time, allergens or not, we vow to find ways to keep moving.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.