While yard work might seem like a chore to most people, it’s one Illinois five-year-old’s favorite activities since it means getting to spend time with his dad.
“He loves John Deere,” mom Barbara Kelly said about her son, Brian Kelly. “He gave his dad a John Deere shirt before he deployed because he loves lawn care. He told me, ‘Let Brian know I’m wearing my John Deere shirt,’ and I told him, and he just smiled. The picture of them on the lawn mower wearing the shirt was the last picture I took of Brian and my husband before he deployed.”
But after dad Dan Kelly was deployed, Brian had no one to do small projects with so he started visiting his neighbor, Dean Cravens, when he saw him outside working on the yard. “We moved here the end of July last year,” Barbara said. “Their friendship started developing then, but it became very much more so since my husband left. He misses him so much.”
“They bought the house, and they’re flipping it and fixing it up, so they’re always doing yard work, and he loves to do yard work,” Cravens said. “When he sees me with my trimmers, he’d always come over and talk to me about it. He’s a hard worker. When his dad left, he’d have more time on his hands, and he’d come over and ring the doorbell. He’d ask if I could come out and play. Originally he’d ask to do more yard work, and I thought, ‘Well, let’s do other things too,’ so we play catch, we’ll be shooting the ball, working on my golf swing.”
“I appreciate it a lot. I love kids and being with them. When I see they’re not having fun, I’m not,” he said. “I like to coach and teach them because you get to see them learn. I don’t have a son. I have three daughters, and we’ve had a great time, but it’s fun to be around a boy. It’s different.”
“Brian knows that no one is going to replace his father. The bond between a father and son, it’s just unbreakable,” said Barbara, who knows her husband will be grateful that Cravens kept their little boy company while he was away. “If that was me, I would be happy that my child is smiling and has someone to look up to and be there for them until I get back. When Dan gets back, Brian’s going to cry and run to him with open arms.”
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[Featured image: Twitter/Molly Cravens]