It was with a full heart and whimsy of spirit that I handed our son the clippers and said ‘make the garden beautiful’. The north side garden had become overgrown with vegetation and lack of attention – in dire need of trimming.

Aware of these long, steamy summer days wrought with motherly instruction I felt freedom for a task was in order. I personally love grabbing clippers and going at it. I step back, look at my potential masterpiece and set to work. I stand in long enough stints to get inspiration and then go forth accordingly.

I thought our son might feel some semblance of that in his own way. He seemed happy enough, plugged into his phone, clipping away. What I didn’t know was that he was listening to a podcast on serial killers – intermittently laughing. That should have been a warning signal right there.

But I kept my eyes glued to my own task of releasing the crease between our sidewalk and road from the strangle hold myriad clumps of grass had on it. I refused to look back and comment until he said, ‘done’. I looked.

Our wild, riot of a forsythia bush was his target. Sawed off at the knees – ankles really. The longest shoot now pushes five inches – maybe.

Maybe next time I should take into account what ‘make it beautiful’ might mean to a teenager listening to a comedic podcast on serial killers.