The evening air is still, no breeze, just bugs floating in heavy clouds around our heads. Sean is mowing the grass and June wanders aimlessly with a pot and a stick that she likes to call “mop.” Over and over again she says, “mop, mop, mop” despite our attempts to get her to say “pot” or “stick”. This word, “mop” is used inside when she is pretend baking, as well. I have taken it to mean something like, “stir” or “bake”. All day long, we hear “mop, mop, mop”. And this evening, as I sit in the garden bed, pulling weeds and unwanted grasses, she sings it to me, “mop, mop, mop”. I love the way it sounds just as much as she loves saying it; her small voice taking its time to pronounce each sound of the word, “m-o-p.”
June comes to sit beside me in the dirt. She digs with her “mop” as I disassemble the previous owner’s hard work of decorative gardens. I feel a tinge of guilt for undoing what they’d created, but it isn’t my style, it’s too much to maintain and quite simply nothing about these ornate grasses brings me joy. So, I toil in the evening air, pulling out grasses and placing them into the red wagon. It doesn’t take June long to figure out, however, that both she and the grasses can’t fit in the wagon. Without thought, she takes everything out of the wagon and replaces it with herself. I appreciate the distraction as much as she does, so I stop what I’m doing to pull her around the yard.
After Sean finishes mowing the yard, he walks over to where June and I are working, a smile on his face. My favorite experiences with Sean are usually our unspoken moments. I watch the smile on his face widen as June tells him, “Mop, Daddy.” Soon the sun will set and we will begin our nighttime routine: bed, books, kisses, goodnight. But for now, we will stand in the day’s last spot of sunshine, smiling and listening to June, “mop, mop, mop.”