In order to keep my sanity in the months after my farm boy was born, I took to packing him in the stroller and heading out for walks. The farmer to the north had a small pasture in which fluffy white sheep would graze. We visited often, watching lambs bounce around and grow big through the summer.
As my farm boy grew, our days were dominated by farming . . . the floors of the house. Little farm toys are not made for toddlers who want nothing more than to farm like their dads. So farm moms’ become farm toy mechanics spending hours hooking and unhooking wagons and planters and fixing all the little parts of all the little farm equipment. When I’d feel like I was drowning in the constant hum of his toy tractor engines, I’d suggest we go for a walk.
Our farm boy started toddling at nine months, so by one year he was done with riding in the stroller and graduated to a little red wagon, but often insisted upon pulling it instead. Walks off the farm were adventures for him; and for me, a peak at the world beyond our castle walls of corn.
When my farm princess came along, our walks continued. My farm boy wanted nothing more than to show his sister the sheep. Eventually, passers-by would see a parade of tricycles, one pulling a little red wagon (because farm boys must haul something at all times) head up the road to see the sheep three or four times a day. Our conversations would focus on the crops, tractors, the sky, sometimes faith and other times a dinner menu.
As the kids grew older, our farm walks became bike rides far past the now empty pasture, and our conversations ranged from weather to politics to my farm princess lobbying for another shopping trip.
Tonight, for the first time this summer, I suggested a short twilight ride. It has been an over committed summer, with rarely a night spent at home. With just one week left before school starts, this mom’s heart was aching for some simple time spent with kids.
My farm boy accepted and we set out in silence, as we have done since he was born. The locust sang loudly. The sun colored the fields gold as it sank. Our bike tires whirred across the pavement. Finally, my farm boy asked, “Are there dances in 5th grade?”
And so we talked about his move to middle school. I tried not to over advise, but listen carefully to his concerns about dances and girlfriends, gym uniforms and no recess after lunch.
Back home, I set about washing dishes. My farm boy headed for the living room. Soon his hum filled the house. He was farming, hooking his own wagons and fixing his own equipment. Some things change. Thank the Lord, some stay the same.