We said Goodbye to our John Deere backhoe today, after seven years. Truth is, Fred bought it before he ever spoke to me about the purchase which caused countless arguments between us. I never felt we needed it, he couldn't imagine getting along without it. We finally agreed he would keep it for six months and then he HAD to get rid of it. Six months was long enough to get whatever projects he wanted done around here- in my opinions anyway.
The following week Fred tried it out for the first time. He got in, started her up and began driving around trying to dig, or scoop, or push at anything he could in our yard. After a couple of hours I looked out the window to spot a look I knew,but didn't like, on my husbands face. I was pregnant with Michael at the time ,and trudged out onto our front lawn just as he was nervously hopping down off the machine. We stood facing each other for 15 seconds before Fred announced "I made a mistake, I can't handle this machine. I should never have bought it Elle." If you know Fred, you know these are words that do not easily come from his lips. And so words that didn't come easily from mine poured out next " No, you didn't make a mistake. It'll be fine. Its just going to take you some time to get used to handling it. Soon enough it'll feel easy, just be patient with yourself."
And then we parted ways and didn't speak about it anymore that day, or for many days afterwards when he would go out and climb in and play around. It did in fact take Fred some time to feel confident using it. I cannot tell you that I enjoyed the many Saturdays when the John Deere stole Fred for whole afternoons from me, but I will tell you that I firmly believed it was building Fred in ways he needed to be built up. He needed to conquer it, and that he did. He shaped out yard, dug foundations, put in our in-ground pool, and took down a few trees,in between giving the kids rides over the years.
It hasn't been running so great lately and so when he mentioned he was thinking of getting rid of it, I took it the same way I have taken it every time he has said so in the last seven years. But he really meant it this time, even though I didn't realize it. In fact the very first person he mentioned it to was over lickety split to buy it. He picked it up today and now our yard is empty.
Funny thing is, I think I miss it more than Fred. I'm not sure why. Maybe its because it taught Fred something about himself he didn't know he could handle, but I was sure of. Who knows maybe I'll be the one to buy our next piece of heavy equipment- without asking.