Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Learning from the kids
Today is Dec. 27. Friday, Dec. 27, which I realized when the Tri-State editor sent me a message that this was my week to contribute a column. Columns are due Thursday afternoon, at the latest.
I got the message while trying to step out the door to help my husband sort and load hogs for a practice livestock judging and a customer, as both kids were waking up. Cartoons, filled sippy cups, a quick reply that I would get something finished this morning all mixed together.
The hogs sorted well, but did not load well. We got to sort one for a second time out of the heifer calves. Another was basically bulldogged onto the trailer. Most of this was done in a snowbank or on ice. It wasn’t an enjoyable couple’s experience.
My husband agreed to run to his parents’ today to help with an electrical job, and I was able to send my kids along to Grandma’s house in order to have a little peace and quiet to write. During this same timeframe, the forecast went from iffy to bad starting tonight through the weekend.
Before leaving, my husband mentioned that, if I had time, could I try to cut some stuff for the sow barn to size, feed the cows, run the checks to the bank in town, get ready to clean hog pens, and a handful of other things. I finally told him that, as the neighbor’s hired man has said a time or two, he was going to have to narrow his list, because I was only one person and couldn’t physically be in multiple places at once.
He cracked his first smile of the morning, and off he went. I am now free to finish this column before mentally organizing the entire list of stuff he said needed done today – only about a week’s worth of work for three people, and choose where to start.
This is how the year has felt, start to finish. We have been constantly behind, and nearly every task has been a struggle to complete, large or small. The weather has made just about everything tough, and this upcoming storm is projected to add between one and one-and-a-half inches of moisture to and already record-breaking year for total precipitation.
We are tired, and will not miss what 2019 held. In fact, if and when my children should want to dive into the farm and ranch life, I will have to make sure I don’t focus on 2019 in my mind when formulating my response. This was the kind of year that results in parents mentioning to their kids that they can make more and work less at just about any job other than production agriculture.
But, then there was Christmas. You’ll never convince me that God didn’t know what he was doing placing it at what is the end of our calendar year. There was nothing we needed more than four consecutive days of celebrating Christ’s birth. Our friends and family gathered close. An abundance of food, gifts and fun. Stories, games, and relaxation. It is always a magical time of year in my opinion, but in this year of so much unmagical stuff, it was a bright and shining silver lining.
The toys had a distinctive farm and construction vibe to them. New put puts (tractors), binoculars to spot the cows with while feeding (and hopefully save the good pair from further disrepair), several 1:16 scale toy hay bales to replace the canned foods currently stacked in various corners of the house. There was also a loader, much needed to load hay bales and fill imaginary feed wagons. My brother, who is my son’s favorite person, made my son a custom hay hauling semi and trailer, complete with homemade hay bales, tie-down straps, oversize load flags, and the TK Freight logo on the door.
Sitting here in the aftermath of all that, I can’t help but think we have much to learn from our children. It is called childlike faith for a reason. Today I can clearly see that with childlike faith comes a zealous joy in the everyday things, regardless off our earthly occupation.
Instead of focusing on the struggles found in agriculture, how much better off would we adults be to focus on the fun. On the fact that having a lot of hay bales of any size is awesome, regardless of their worth. That being able to haul them in to stack yards is fun, instead of wondering where they are all going to go. That feeding cows and watching them trail into feed, maybe with binoculars, is fulfilling, not a waste of time. That owning a cow, or cows, is always worth smiling about. That even when it breaks down, a great big tractor is still really cool, and makes life considerably easier.
I wasn’t expecting to learn quite so much from a two and four-year-old. But, as we approach a new year, I’m looking forward to watching them continue to grow, and in what they will teach me along the way.
In closing, I’ll leave you with a direct quote from my kids; “Keep your God Book on the shelf in the living room, and plug in your hay truck and put put (tractor) if you want it to start.” May God bless you and provide you with childlike faith and fun in 2020.
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