By Paul Morrone CPF®, CPA/PFS, MSA
Back in 1988, my parents had just moved our family into a house that they built in North Haven. It was a new house, in a new development. There are a host of pictures of me from back in the day running around a yard with no grass, playing in an unfurnished room or sitting on the various pieces of construction equipment being used to finish our landscaping or our neighbors’ houses. I was barely one at the time. In a striking parallel to today, Kyle is seeming reliving my early childhood life in the modern era. Our house is also new, in a new neighborhood, and we now are facing many of the challenges that my parents surely faced when they moved into their new home over 30 years ago.
What I anticipated was the obvious: moving, unpacking, furnishing and spending gobs of money on God knows what to turn the house into a home. What no one warned me about, however, was how difficult this would all be with an 18-month-old running around (and a pregnant wife). It’s not that Kyle is a bad kid, he’s great, just very busy. And curious. Which makes the lack of a mature yard or clean outside space quite a challenge. We have a yard, but it’s not quite usable yet. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature who needs to work her magic to make our yard look a little more inviting, which doesn’t happen overnight.
Playing with Kyle outside is not for the faint of heart, especially when the neighborhood is a full-blown construction zone. He’s quick, doesn’t listen that well, and loves to play everywhere he shouldn’t. Trying to contain him on a patio or small patch of grass is impossible, and if you look the other way for too long, he’s gone. He won’t go far, but you’ll often find him playing in a pile of dirt, throwing rocks into catch basins, exploring the muddy puddles that pop up after a rainstorm, or running up the large hill in our backyard. With little in the way of outdoor activities, it’s like Groundhog Day as a parent. Up the hill, down the hill, rewind, play.
On the plus side, he is fascinated by the cars, trucks and equipment milling around the job site. He is at an age where all the books have big dump trucks, backhoes and bulldozers in them, and seeing them working in real life must be like living in a movie. He’ll jump up and down and yell ‘BEEP! BEEP!’ when the dump trucks are backing up. He stands and points at the bulldozer and excavator and jumps up and down going ‘OOOOOHHH’ when they are working within eye shot. If we’re inside, he will slap the windows and yell when the loader drives by.
Both Jill and I are hoping for easier days ahead once the yard starts to grow in and we can start to dress up the outdoor space. But I must admit, coming from a generation that is synonymous with instant gratification, it isn’t easy. I continually have to remind myself of something I often say to our clients: we’re in this for the long haul and these short-term inconveniences will pay off in spades if we just let time work its magic!
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