“Amy, come meet Bob when he comes over, he’s going to help us with something,” he told me.
“He is? That’s so nice. What’s he going to help us with?” I asked.
“He said he would come look and see.”
So he came over, a big smile, nicest guy you could ever meet. Turns out I know his daughter in law and his granddaughter is close in age to Finley.
“Well, my wife and I pray each morning that God would use us how He would see fit, and we want to help you guys,” he told us.
We showed him around, I think we were thinking a leaking sink, or unhinged door, and Andrew happened to mention how we kind of wish our sloping yard had a level area for the kids to play on.
“Well, that’s it then!” he told us.
A month or two back, I had tried to be proactive as a responsible adult, and emailed some landscaper on Craiglist, who came over, and started doing all sorts of crazy talk, and told us some huge number that we would never be able to afford, and as we waved goodbye, we told ourselves that the slope would give our kids calve stamina, or something like that, cause they would never see a day it was level. Ever.
“What?” We asked Bob, cause you know, leveling a yard is a big deal.
“Yeah, if that’s what you need, we can even put a little fence around it, and maybe some gates,” he mentioned as Finley and Elijah had both taken the opportunity of us chatting to beeline for the open driveway from the yard.
“Oh, wow…um…” we tried to say.
“Well, I’ll start tomorrow. I hope 6:30 isn’t too early for you, I just head back here and start then if that’s ok.”
“Oh, we don’t know what to say, thank you…”
Tomorrow? Our yard? Gates?
What was happening? He just wanted to help us because he loves God and feels like using his time is well spent serving others, even messy strangers with Russian speaking kids, and a very sloping yard, with all sorts of weird, twisting brick walkways, translation: toddler concussion.
Sure enough, he was there the next morning, we brought all the kids outside after breakfast and they all greeted him. I looked at the yard, and he had already done more in one morning than Andrew and I could have done in a week, even if we were working together. And had two cups of coffee.
And all the uneven brick walkways were gone, it was already better.
And in our yard, Bob has come. Every day, unless he’s out captaining a ship, for more than a month. Yes, seriously! Sometimes he hires a friend named Sergio, which is a beautiful story of grace in itself, and other times his brother Don comes and helps alongside too. His wife Bonnie comes each day and brings lunch for Bob and the guys, and helps too.
My kids are in heaven. Seriously.
|“Yets go, Bob!” “Let’s go, Finley.”
As Bob is working, the kids, who just love him, want to talk to him while they are playing out back.
“Hi Bob!” they say with hopeful voices, first thing when they see him, as his back is bent over a project. He always stops what he’s doing, faces them, greets them, chats with them. He stops what he’s doing and pushes Elijah on a bike, or shows Finley the cement mixing in the mixer, shows him the new project.
One day, when the boys woke up from their naps with grumpiest of all grumpies, and Finley was just a mess of tears and whining, the kind of thing most people would avoid, Bob heard, stopped what he was doing, walked over, looking at Finley.
“Finley, what is this? Chernobyl?”
“Come here. Get up, you need to get to work and water the grass, come on, I need your help.”
To which Finley stopped crying, (Wait, what?) got up, picked up the hose and got to work, silently. After a few minutes, “I workeeeeing, mama. I workeeeing wif Bob!”
“Yeah, you are buddy!” Thank goodness! It was such a sweet moment. Oh, and quiet.
Sometimes when the kids are sleeping, and I am folding laundry, I hear Andrew and Bob, having deep conversations about God, marriage, life. Bob always saying how Bonnie is the best thing that has ever happened to him. As soon as you say her name, he will tell you all her best qualities.
“Some people, end up bringing out the worst in each other, but I think Bonnie and I bring out the best in each other. Stuff like that, it takes work, but when it happens, everything in life is just easy,” he told me just the other day, as he poured concrete to make steps for our home.
Finley loves Bonnie so much, sometimes he asks for her at random times of the day, “See Bonnie, mama?” Maria loves Bonnie, and Bonnie even made her a special tutu and wings. When Maria first put them on, we all laughed as she ran around the yard, convinced she could fly. Bonnie even made tutus and wings for Maria’s two special dolls, can you believe it!? I always end up talking her ear off when she’s over, and she’s so sweet and listens to everything. She’s in my bsf group on Wednesday mornings, and sometimes we talk about how much we love it. She even offered to watch the kids for us so we could have date nights, “Even if you guys want to do once a month!” she told us. It was just the kindest thing.
|He would knock Finley over, and pick him up. Finley was laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe. Also, how CUTE is that Tutu!?
I think the day we have a big, beautiful yard, a yard more wonderful than we could ever had hoped for, will also be a sad day when we don’t get to see Bob and Bonnie each day. I think our days are so much better with them there. I know we just finished an adoption and all, but I think we kind of adopted them into our family too, without their permission.
We are planting grass, some trees and plants, but they are planting more than that. They are teaching Andrew and I so much about love and service, about marriage and parenting. I’m not kidding, they tell us stuff that we could have heard a million times elsewhere, but when they say it, it clicks. They are a living legacy to us and their kids, our children and we could never thank them enough. It’s so much more than our yard, and so much more than even all the time they put in,the kind things they do for our kids. It’s the kind of thing that changes our lives forever, a permanent reminder of the beauty of humble servitude, and hopefully, like Bob, with always a smile on our faces, and time to give to anyone who interrupts.