Sideline Cheering & Bold Prayers
In some parts of the county it’s rained way too much this month. The corn and beans love the heat and humidity, but 12 inches of rain in less than 7 days doesn’t work out too well around here. Many of the farmers I know whose livelihood will bear the brunt of extreme weather such as this, have been weathered over the years themselves. Often they seem unphased. They shake their heads and get back in the truck, knowing there is very little they can do at this point other than wait and see.
I thought about this the other day as I stood under the hot sun helping manage a hole for a new fence post. The old post broke awhile back and if dad wanted the cows to stay in the corral this winter, he’d best replace it. “Just one,” he had told me, but when we got to looking around the decades had taken their toll on more than just one post.
After an afternoon of guiding the backhoe, pulling out old pieces of concrete buried 4 feet down (that wasn’t part of the original plan) and chasing the bull back into the pen he was supposed to stay in… I stood over the second of three holes wondering how much of this dad was enjoying and how much he could do without. I’m not as passionate about farming overall to where I take the good and the bad as easily as he sometimes can.
My 12 year old has been talking for some time about wanting to farm. In light of her age and all that could change in the next 10 years, I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. But while standing over a dirty hole under the hot sun, sweat dripping down my back, and a never ending to-do list before harvest… my mind wonders if she really would want to take on a job such as this. And love it as much as she thinks she would.
I go back and forth about how alike we are. We gesture the same and people say she looks like I did around that age. When she gets all worked up and talkative it’s like looking into a mirror and I pray she will have more control of her tongue than I did. Hopefully make better choices and experience less humiliation.
But give her a personality test and we are direct opposites. She’s reserved and quiet when she needs to recharge. She processes ideas and conflict in ways foreign to my social nature. Last week she worked on cleaning out the barn with a perseverance I doubt I’d ever come close to at the age of 12, let alone my current life status.
And since I’d rather read and write the day away than find ways to grow and nurture plants and animals, it’s hard for me to understand her desire to take on a difficult, risky, exhausting job such as farming. Working as a farm-hand is one thing. Running the farm is an entirely different ballgame.
It never occurred to me my children would want to do something with their lives that was so difficult for me to wrap my brain around. So scary for mama to imagine. She might as well be dreaming of rock climbing or professionally skydiving the way I’m already fretting and confused. Watching our children turn into complete people is fascinating, and I’m quickly finding out that to parent will soon mean far less decision making and much more sideline-cheering and bold prayer.
In some ways I should take my cues from the weathered farmers who seem to know which fights to pick, what is worth getting worked up about, and what is not. The ones who recognize we have little control of the natural progression of the world around us. In parenting there are lots of moments where it’s best to make peace with what’s out of my hands, and try to stay focused on the to-do list in front of me. There are a few things that can be done now, to prepare her to make the best choices for the future. But one way or another, nature will take its course.