There was a big grin on Benjamin's face as he pushed the lawn mower across our yard. In my mind, he was still little and pushing one of those bubble mowers. He was proud that he was passing a thresh hold that meant he was old enough to handle this responsibility and that I trusted him enough to let him. This pride grew even more when a kid from his school, who also lives in our neighborhood, walked past with his grandmother and saw Benjamin at labor. Benjamin puffed up.
True, I had to guide him to go back over spots and to follow the line instead of weaving around in random paths, but I didn't rush over, take away the mower with, "I'll finish this." Whenever he'd look over at me, he'd beam a big smile and call out over the engine noise, "Am I doing a good job?" I'd smile back and give him a thumb's up. He also liked it when I brought him a glass of water the way he does me. Of course I realized there would come a day when he wouldn't ask to help me mow, but I'd have to repeatedly tell him to do it. But for now, this wasn't a chore but a responsibility and he understood this was a rites of passage in its own way.