Monday, May 15, 2017

I Thought I'd Ruined Mother's Day

I thought I'd ruined Mother's Day
the house was all a mess
the dished piled in the sink
I couldn't find my dress

I sat and ate my breakfast slow
determined to enjoy
the children gathered all around
my lap, their favorite toy

The time, I knew, was flying by
so much that needed done
we had to get to church on time
always this race to run

The baby's face was dirty
the toddler's diaper messed
the preschooler had a missing shoe
and his sister wasn't dressed

My daughters, who are twelve and nine
had helped their Dad make me
a breakfast so sweet and special
but there was no time for tea

The goat was waiting to be milked
the pigs, they needed fed
the chickens' eggs to be collected
and the teens were sleeping in

I sighed a sigh that was too loud
my son, he overheard
"take it easy Mom," was all he said
I uttered not a word

Just once I wanted it to be
the kind of day that I did well
without the missing shoes
the dirty faces, or the smells

Without the tangles in girls' hair
waiting to be brushed out
without the tantrums, chores, and sighs
rising tension in the air

At last we loaded up the van
abandoned shoes were found
the sweater I'd stood ironing
was finally coming 'round

And then I climbed into the van
and found awaiting there
messy faces all in smiles
and bows in tangled hair

My darlings, my loves, my reasons for being
how could I be so silly
to look upon the messes of life
as if they matter, really

I thought I'd ruined Mother's Day
with harsh words and impatient sighs
but my children must know the love I carry
so deep and full inside

Thank you Lord for children
for every dirty little mess
for tea that gets neglected
in search of each lost dress

Thank you for the love they share
for life, for fun, for me
I know these days will quickly pass-
please let me hang on and make them last-
for as long as time shall be

Elizabeth Sliwa
Mother's Day 2017


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Another Spring

I awoke to sunshine this morning. Well really I awoke to a sleepy-eyed 2 yr old who climbed into bed and fought his brother for a spot next to mom. This is the season I'm in. This is the season I've been in for many years. This is the only season my poor, neglected married life has ever known seeing as we had our first (surprise!) child ten months after we said our vows. The season of being woken each day by snuggly toddlers and sweet smelling babies about a half hour before I'm really ready to be awake. Fumbling, almost tripping down the stairs in my pre-coffee state with a baby on my hip and at least 2 children trailing me close and crying for breakfast (at this point the preschooler and possibly the front- toothless first grader has joined the party). One is screaming for cereal, another for bagels, the other wants eggs. I comply with each of their demands simply because it's the easiest and I'm a little too compliant with the demands of my children. I've gotten really good at making three different breakfasts in record time. I realize I may be asking for trouble down the road with this practice, but at this moment I don't care. This season. I look at my husband and think it's amazing how two people committed to each other can rally through so many years of lack of time, lack of money, lack of sleep, lack of just us. Sometimes I've felt it's all made us so much stronger. Other times not. But I think what keeps us going is the knowing that we are creating a legacy, as is every marriage that chooses to welcome children into it. Messy, loud, interrupting, needy, sweet sleepy-eyed heaven-sent children. It's about so much more than him or I. It's generational, lasting, worthy work.
And like I said, I woke to sunshine and birds singing, so bring on the season and all it holds.

Spring is here. The farm's been in full swing since March. The arrival of baby chicks (purchased), piglets (bartered for), and goat kids (birthed on this farm) is a sign of new beginnings. A sign that I'm not ready to give up on this old place just yet. There's promise with each new start and each new spring.

The chicks were started in the house, then moved to the barn and by three weeks were out on pasture, moved daily. Another couple weeks and they'll be ready to process. They never stop eating, so they grow fast. The pigs came as a deal -  I was selling a couple goats, the man who was wanted them was short on cash. He offered me two pigs in exchange. I convinced him three would be more even and they arrived the next day. Joe was ok with this. But they eat a lot too and he'll be ready to see them go at the end of this month. I'll miss their... piggy-ness. They really are fun.

I got some soap orders yesterday. I've been wavering on the soap lately, wondering if it's something I really want to continue. Wondering if it's worthy enough. But a good order or two is usually enough to sway me, and back on track it is.

Brenna wanted to help me milk the goat this morning. We're only milking one so far and only once a day which is a nice way to transition back into the busy-ness of milking. The last couple years I relied heavily on my children to do the milking and realized that: 1. I missed it, and 2. It just wasn't done as properly as it ought to be done when the kids were relied upon. This caused me stress, so I've been milking again and enjoying my brief solitary barn trip every morning. But this morning Brenna decided that she was really missing out on life by not helping with the milking, so she came with me.
Her 9 year old fingers are long and slender and feminine. It takes strong hands to milk. I notice my own practiced hands and forearms are sore for a few days at the beginning of each milking season. 'Cause seriously, it really is a workout. She patiently squeezes and squeezes. Amelia the goat is understanding. It takes me an extra ten minutes this morning out in the barn to teach her how to properly get those teats to spray milk, and into the bucket. She's tried in previous years and has given up in frustration. She was too little. This year it's different. When it's over, she's pleased and I'm pleased and the goat's pleased. Win win, win. And Lucas, I forgot sweet Lu. He joined us and was quite proud to be given the job of feeding the bottle baby. What's not to love about this season?