Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Backyard


Dear Backyard,

It's the end of an era.  The moment we have been waiting for--for six years--has finally arrived.  You are being uprooted, converted, and transformed into something completely different and utterly unfathomable.  The process is called construction, and the end product is a house.  Um, we be gettin' new neighbors soon.

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We moved into this community in the burbs six years ago, just before the market tanked, leaving a significant number of lots unsold and empty.  The original developer completed its responsibilities and sold the vacant properties to a new developer.  In the recent years, much to the credit of the new developer, all the lots have been sold, and construction has been ongoing.  In order for the properties to close before winter when construction halts due to weather, we knew that this summer would be the time to built.  And it all started last week--the ripping and digging--in the lot just behind our house.

Our own tiny backyard extends from our house downward toward an uphill slope.  The beginning of the upward incline is technically not our property, but since it was vacant, we freely planted our memories there as if it were our own.  

In summers, the grass on the hill grows happily and carelessly, spared from mowers that trim its neighbors down to a No. 2 cut.  Weeds and wildflowers take over, inadvertently inviting two little peeps to trek amongst it.  It was there that they picked and collected grass seeds, cupped them in their little hands and twirled and sprinkled them around as if they're tossing pixie dust, announcing, "We're planting grass seeds!  We planting grass seeds!"  It was there that they picked wildflowers and brought them back to put into a vase to decorate our table for a few days.  It was there that they ran round expending some cooped up energy that badly needed to be vaporized.  It was there that they collected stones and pebbles and rocks and oh-wait-that's-not-a-rock-throw-it-away-quick things.  A mass of green and a stroke of sky blue fill my view from my kitchen window in the summer.


In winters, we took advantage of the perfectly inclined hill for sledding.  For years, we didn't have to leave our not-technically-own backyard to have some speedy snow fun.  It was there that we swooshed and overturned and faceplanted while our sleds flew out from beneath us.  It was there where we plopped down and made snow angels and snow balls and snow forts.  It was there where clumsy hands covered in mittens and gloves shoveled snow, compacted pails, and patted down to make snow castles.  It was there that I watched two small bodies--covered in winter gear, leaving only a portion of their faces exposed--blow visible white puffs of moisture into the cold air from their mouths sandwiched between two bright, red cheeks.  A snow white backdrop separated by an uneven line of bare-branched trees fill my view from my kitchen window the winter. 


In springs, after a winter that overstayed her welcome, the hill is covered by grass eager to turn green.  As nature wakes from its monochome shades, the sun rays take center stage and shower the hill of my backyard.  It was there that my peeps finally run about without thick winter coats and snow gear to hit and catch and throw and chase and tag and jump and cartwheel and skip.  Up and down the hill, "Mama, look at me, look at me!"  It was there that we looked up into the sky and celebrated the arrival of warm weather.  Even from afar, you can see little bumps on tree branches budding with flower blossoms in the horizon.  A picture of a new beginning and new possibilities for growth perfectly frame my view from my kitchen window in the spring.  


Subsequently, on the hill of my backyard, the unattended lot brings us beauty of these sorts: magical cottony puffs for wishing-making and wildflower fields for eye dessert.



And now the making of such new memories will be no more. 

It will be a noisy summer.  There's nothing like being woken up by the sound of drilling into concrete and banging into metal in your not-technically-own backyard.  It will be a dusty summer.  Our air filters will be guaranteed to be covered in soot within a fraction of their normal time.  It will be a rapidly changing summer.  The speed at which houses are built these days is astonishing.  And we will be watching it every step of the way. 

Fortunately, I did manage to to think of a few positives.  Since our largest windows face west and get the most afternoon sun, once the house is built, we will benefit from significant shade relief (the new house will be much taller as its basement is on the level of our first floor).  Next, I know I will learn a thing or two as a bystander about building houses.  Or the work and break hours of construction workers.  Or the materials and labor aka blood-sweat-tears required to erect a home.  Lastly, we will be graced with new neighbors, much like the way a stork drops a baby in a sac to its rightful mommy.  We'll look up one day and poof! a family unveiled from a sac transplanted into the house in our not-technically backyard. 

Changes are hard.  I'm definitely not one to embrace change.  Six years worth of memories replaced by one giant change in a few months will be shocking even to trend-chasers.  But we are a resilient people.  We are tackling the changes of a rapidly growing girl who is beginning to exhibit emotional changes without cause, though I'd like to blame it on hormones.  We are struggling with the frustrations of a little boy who seems to take everything personally, even his own blunders and mistakes.  These changes make the Path of Parenting situated on a bed of nails at times.  But we'd no doubt walk on the bed of nails just to be able to get our kiddos through such tough times.  The optimist in me likes to think that it's these challenges that make the memories all the fonder.  The pessimist in me wants to travel back in time to save that hill in our not-technically-own backyard.


But I know we'll be okay.  We'll roll with the changes as they come, together.

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So, Dear Backyard, since there's no going back, I'll look forward to peaceful days, a lower utility bill, and new neighbors ahead.  A family will be living on top of a lot of beautiful memories.  Lucky peeps.  

Sincerely,
Me


8 comments:

  1. What a lovely ending - A family will be living on top of a lot of beautiful memories. I love all the seasonal photographs and all the memories made. Those wildflowers sure are beautiful! Hope the new neighbors are wonderful additions to your lives.

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    1. When they put up the black tarp around the property 2 weeks ago, I knew what was coming. I was so sad that I knew I had to write about this. And I also had so many great pics of the kiddos on this plot of land anyway, so I had to document our memories somehow. Really good neighbors are hard to come by, but it doesn't stop me from hoping! Thanks, Lisa!!

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  2. I can't help but think if the lot next to our building was undergoing a similar change, that I'd never be able to leave our house, because Gavin is so enamored with all things construction. EXCAVATOR! And that would be the end of it. =)

    I hope the construction process is as non-invasive into your lives as can be ... and this change turns out to be something really wonderful for you and your family!

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    1. Hi, Nilsa, I'm understanding why Gavin would be so interested at construction sites, because it's fascinating to watch the progress. They were just putting up the structures to pour concrete for the basement walls and BAM! the next thing I knew the walls are done and everything has been cleared out. It's quite amazing. As to invasive-ness, there's lots of banging and noises in the early mornings, but that's about it so far. We'll live. :) And you're right--it could lead to something really wonderful. Backyard playmates could be a great start!!

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  3. I admire your ability to excavate the positives out of this (sorry about the building verb, but I couldn't resist :)) I would be so disappointed in losing the feeling of wide open space that I think it would take me longer to accept what would be no more.

    What's funny is that when I saw the first picture of the hole, I thought you were getting a swimming pool! (That's what summer digging means in Arizona, though I've never had (nor do I want) a pool.

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    1. Haha, Janna, that's a good one! Excavate! Well, we knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. I took more pics of the hill this spring than usual, and for some reason, the wildflowers looked especially pretty this season. I think the kiddos are most sad about the end to our sledding fun back there, but we did go to a public park with a great big hill for sledding this past winter, and they had so much fun that I know they'll live. I don't think I'd ever want a swimming pool; it's just too much work and too costly, not that we could even afford one anyway. It'll be nice when the entire community is done with construction, that's for sure! :)

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  4. How nice you had so much space to use for so many years. Good luck with the new neighbors--I hope they're friendly.

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    1. So many years of 3 empty lots in a row! And guess what? All three are in construction now, all IN A ROW. Lucky us and the noise times three now... Thanks, Asianmommy for the good luck--we'll need it. :)

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