When Mike was three he wanted a sand box. His father said, “There goes the yard. We’ll have kids over here day and night. They’ll throw sand and it’ll kill the grass for sure.” Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”

When Mike was five, he wanted a jungle gym with swings that would take his breath away and bars to take him to the summit. His father said, “Good grief! I’ve seen those things in back yards. Do you know what the yard looks like? Mud holes in a pasture. Kids digging their gym shoes in the ground. It’ll kill the grass.” Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”

Between breaths when daddy was blowing up the plastic swimming pool, he warned, “They’ll track water everywhere. They’ll have a million water fights. You won’t be able to take out the garbage without stepping in mud up to your neck. We’ll have the only brown lawn on the block. Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”

When Mike was 12, he volunteered his back yard for a camp out. As boys hoisted the tents and drove in the spikes, Mike’s father said, “You know those tents and all those big feet are going to trample down every blade of grass, don’t you? Don’t bother to answer. I know what you’re going to say- “It’ll come back.”

Just when it looked as if the new seed might take root, winter came and the sled runners beat it into ridges. Mikes father shook his head and said, “I never asked for much in this life – only a patch of grass.” Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”

Now Mike is 18. The lawn this year is beautiful – green and alive and rolling out like a carpet along the drive where the gym shoes have trod, along the garage where bicycles used to fall and around the flower beds where little boys used to dig with teaspoons. But Mike’s father doesn’t notice. He looks anxiously beyond the yard and asks, “Mike will come back, won’t he?”

Summer is here. Children are one of life’s most precious commodities. Appreciate your children’s activities and spend time with them while you can.