So we've been cleaning some trees out of our yard.
It's a big job and has resulted in loads and loads of wood and debris which then needed to be carted to the dump.
So, last weekend, while Josh and Bryce were working at the park, the other kids and I took on the task (and I felt all tough and important about it because usually Josh does the messy, physically difficult types of things around here, not me).
We loaded logs and branches and twigs and everything in between into my parent's truck for six scratchy trips to the waste center. Parker and Logan helped me empty and re-load the bed of the truck every time. Aubrey and Gavin heaved limbs and wood scraps into the front yard to make loading the truck easier after each trip. It really was a family effort.
But, the very best thing happened when we reached the dump to unload our haul. As we pulled up to the attendant at the green waste area he peeked into the truck, took one look at the boys and said, "I see you brought some muscle with you," which immediately endeared him to Parker and Logan. They flexed and strutted and loved showing off their strength while we worked.
When we returned an hour later with the next load, they looked for their new friend. And again, he engaged with my guys and made them excited to be at the garbage dump (no easy feat).
In fact, as the day progressed, we became friends with all three of the men who manned the green waste area. They were patient and helpful with me as I backed the truck into really tight spots. Every one of them commented on how lucky I was to have boys who work so hard to take care of their mom. They showed me secret tricks and exits they don't usually let people use that made our life easier. But it didn't stop there.
These men really engaged with us. They told us about their lives. One of them had three grown boys who he said sadly he wished would work as hard as my boys. One of them said his dad had passed away several years back but he works at the dump and has a second job to help take care of his mom. And because of his work, she has been able to keep her house and her independence and he is very proud of that. One of them took his sick sister in to live with him so that he could care for her. I mean, these guys are incredible. You might not know it to look at them (they were definitely a little rough around the edges, but if I worked there, I would be too), but these men are the kind of men I hope my boys grow into one day.
These three men made us look forward to each trip we took to the garbage dump. And that doesn't just happen to everyone. I am so grateful that they were kind and selfless enough to help turn an ominous task into a job we were almost sad to finish.
So, yes, we made six trips to the garbage dump all in one afternoon. And what we really found there was anything but garbage.