The air filled with the smell of animals and the powdered dust kicked up by the sheep's tiny hooves. Adela's ponytail swished back and forth in the air. I smiled and shook my head as a lamb, near the size of her mother, tried to nurse and her eager movements almost lifted the ewe off the ground.
It was a good thing today was weaning day.
I love working days. We begin with a family breakfast that usually involves extended family and friends coming over to help with the work and enjoy each other's company. As we work, everyone has an oportunity to be involved. The pastures and pens are a flurry of activity as the animals are gathered and sorted. The lambs are given booster vaccinations and taken to different feeding grounds. The mothers are given rest and a chance for their bodies to recover from the work of nursing lambs before they are bred again.
So many families are busy these days. We live in a "divide and conquer" world. Parents work. Kids go to school. However, on a farm or ranch, we literally live where we do much of our work. Our kids get to go out with us. We can share a huge part of our lives together. I grew up on a ranch about thirty minutes from where I live now. My weekends were spent checking cows with my dad or tying fence. I still enjoy the close relationship I have with my father.
I am blessed beyond beleif that as we share our life and our work with our children, we get to build relationships with them that will last a lifetime.
It is just another reason that while farming and ranching isn't easy, it is beautiful.
What part of your life are you blessed to share with your family?
It started the week I began working. Adela had a very rough attitude. She was uspet, sad, or angry about everything.
I am a ridiculously emphatic person. I will feel what anyone around me is feeling. So, my eight-year-old's negative vibes brought me down to a new low. We wallowed in it together. There were way too many tears and raised voices. We could not seem to get out of that cycle.
Finally, afraid that I might commit a terrible act if I did not put an end to the circus, I told her, "You are completely allowed to feel all your feelings, Adela, but I am not going to feel them with you."
Expecting more tears, I was shocked when she erupted into giggles. The giggles turned into full-body laughter and the unicorn on her little pink dress danced with her merriment.
I had to laugh, too. To my young daughter, what I said must have sounded absurd, but for me, it was completely liberating.
If there is a sin that I hold on to tightly, it is the belief that I am responsible for fixing everyone. If someone is sad, I make them happy. If they are angry, I calm them down. If they are anxious, I try to be a peaceful voice.
However, I was listening to a podcast about personalities, and heard a psycologist say that so many emotions must be felt. Sometimes, the most healing thing we can do is settle into the feeling and let it run its course. Only then can we identify the thoughts and memories that hurt us and take a step toward healing.
Also, it definitely is something people need to do for themselves without me running over and covering them with emotional anesthetic.
So, my new motto is, "Feel all those feelings, child. I am just not going to feel them with you."
Adela did eventually figure out the root of all her negativity. I was proud of her voicing her fears and anxieties. Together we worked out new ways of thinking about the changes in our home and school. My happy little girl is back.
When someone you love is hurting, how do you come along side them?
My cheeks instantly flushed as I stepped out into the humid afternoon. On the horizon, the sky was darkening, the clouds building and bubbling. As I bent down to turn off the dripline to my garden, I smelled the rain on the air. I wondered if the storm would bless us or pass us by again.
So is the life of a New Mexican living here on the Great Plains. We can see a storm and watch it pass by us, so close we could touch it and smell it, and not get a patch of ground wet. We can also go from sunshine to flash flood in mere minutes. We don't really know for sure until it is happening.
The storms are the perfect analogy for my life right now. I'm at a season of change. Micaela's sudden developmental leaps have left us with a little girl who walks and talks about her favorite color. Adela's maturity and quick wit means I have a growing daughter willing to help with chores and care for her little sister. With their growing independence, motherhood for me has changed.
And I don't know what it means. I'm waiting. I'm putting my feet forward and testing the waters. I have taken on responsibilities in our new company, A&G Family Meats. I am even going to start a job outside my own home. For a woman who hasn't been formally employed since teaching in 2011, I feel as if I am venturing into an alien world. A world that requires me to put my coffee into a mug with a lid and drive away.
As I look to the days ahead, I have no idea what they will bring or what challenges will be faced. However, I am at peace with the thought that I am not alone. My God who sends the rains will bless my life with His never ending goodness.
What helps you juggle home and work?
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"...and God was already there with me."