Laughing At The Battlefield.

by Serge Bielanko

Saturday evening we had thunder but then just spits of rain. Monica was helping me unroll sod in our yard which was nice and different since we rarely do any home projects together. Unless you consider gallons of red wine and four seasons of WEEDS a project. I don't. And the fact that we had gone to our very first marriage counseling session that morning sort of swirled a bit of hopefulness into the 7 o'clock atmosphere. Violet was over in her car seat, on the bricks. The dogs were rubbing their bodies in the cool new grass. Up til then the yard has been dust and stubby clumps of weeds.

The therapy thing had gone well if you're waiting to hear about that. We liked the lady enough. She wasn't old or uppity; she didn't seem to mind cursing. That's a huge one for The Bielanko clan: we're big swearers. After the thing was over and we were driving back down the mountain, Monica and I talked a little about it, but not really a lot. Inside, I believe we were both excited about the prospects. On the surface though, well, we aren't able to be that forthright yet. To get all giddy about an expensive counseling session would be very foreign to us. We're way too ghetto. We agreed to try to keep it going if we can swing the cost.

So, that evening out in the yard we unravel soft green . The whole idea is to have a place where we can watch Violet take her first steps some day in the not so distant future. A little place where she won't trip over a wad of dog crap and land on an old arrowhead. And maybe a place where we can all cook some pork chops and corn on the grill. Relax some.

At one point during our labors our daughter is grinning at her Mama's silly antics and just bursts into full-on laughter. High giggles and deeper amused gasps stop me across the yard. Violet is laughing out loud for the first time in her young life. True obvious laughter. I head over there and now we both tickle her feet with our manure'd fingertips. There's no time to wash...gotta keep this sensational chuckle alive. For awhile we do and it's one of the coolest moments of my life. Then Violet tires of the whole scene. Still. I hope it is the first in about a hundred years of constant laughter for her. I'd drain all my blood into a washtub this sec if I knew it would promise her that.

We finish up the yard. I go get some burritos. Then, the long day done, we watch some DEXTER and drink some wine: satisfied enough with our real Saturday projects to enjoy a spin on the couch for what it is. Tomorrow morning we will wake up and have another damn fight about whose getting up in the night to change and feed and whose working full-time and whose a c@#t and who isn't.

The whole new grass/new us/new dawning metaphor crossed my mind here. But we're not that graceful, me and her. We need the counseling AND the baby laughing. The wine on Saturday night AND the early rising on Sunday morning. We'll find our way, I figure.

At least we got a yard now, you case it just all comes down to a flat-out wrestling match.