The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Anyone standing on our balcony and comparing the thin dish towel strip of luscious lawn that belongs to our neighbors with the blotchy brown, green and white stuff on our side of the fence, would concur with this obvious fact. Of course the important thing is how one feels about it. It is not an imperative that such a blatant inequality evoke feelings of inferiority or envy. But it does. As you probably can guess, if you are someone who knows me well, I’m not at all happy about the fact that our grass isn’t as green. It is mossy in the shady spots, and brown in the sunny parts. Our yard is full of unrelenting weeds, and there are camouflaged potholes scattered throughout. Never mind the fact that we have a good 700 square meters more garden, space for a swing set, slide, a wading pool big enough for all the neighborhood kids, including the big boys, and more than enough flower beds ... more roses than I can mentally count. Still, how much nicer it would be, if we had one of those manicured English lawns underlying it all.
Not everyone in our family feels this way, however. Don’t misunderstand me, we are all aware that our grass doesn’t live up to its name. A condition most apparent when we have just been visiting friends whose thumbs are greener than ours, but not all of us Fischers think that that is a bad thing. Just the other day when the girls were happily practicing cartwheels and handstands in the garden, Charis, unsolicited, offered her perspective on our pathetic looking yard. “Mama, I like our garden better than our neighbor’s! They don’t have any daisies! And we have lots of dandelions and clover for our turtles to eat.”
Dumb kid! What does she know? The girls protest every time Jonathan cuts the grass, because he is murdering all the daisies. Admitted, they do make for pretty crowns, but they grow back the very next day, and we have no shortage!
Then she went on to say something I found to be quite profound for her age. “Mama, it is just like someone with a horse who whips and beats it to get it to do exactly what they want it to do. It has to do every little thing just right, or it will get beaten. It has no freedom. (Our neighbors) do the same thing with their grass, they whip it to get it to be perfect. I like our grass, it doesn’t have to be perfect.” Wow, what an analogy. Charis is only ten. Somewhere in what she said there is a lesson for me, I’m sure.