I knew it would be hard for me to let the kids all be gone for a whole week. That meant I had to take care of the baby chicks, the turkey poults, carry heavy feed bags, untangle goats from mesh fence, chase after errant cattle, deal with sheep, and not have any kids to help with farmer's market prep. You can imagine why I haven't been writing very frequently. Too darn busy taking care of every one's farm chores.
As I cleaned the barn and worked on manure detail I was so thankful to know the kids were in a great place, having a break from the daily duties, being nurtured and loved on by people who are trained to help kids be brave enough to grieve.
They went rafting, climbed towers, swam in a pond (must be a lot nicer than our almost dried up pond), hiked, and also shared stories and wept and remembered and talked about anger and guilt and sadness and fear. They broke a pot and glued the shards back together. They listened to stories about Jesus healing the paralytic. They had a pillow fight. They made friends. They had awesome counselors. They didn't even miss home. At least that is what they told me. They said that if you live on a farm and have to work all the time that it keeps you from being homesick when you visit a place where you get to play all week long.
I certainly missed them, and not just because of the extra work! Nora was with me most of the time, but she got lonely for other kids and went to spend a couple of days with the Thomas kids. I love our farm, but what I realized when they were gone is that I love our family even more than the farm.
Way more than the farm.
I love the way their voices echo around the farm.
I love to see their heads bobbing as they traverse the fields.
I love to share labor with them, using our muscles and minds together to overcome challenges.
Even the conflicts and sibling issues are a part of the package deal.
The house feels normal tonight.
We shared a late supper of pork chops, from the farm, of course, broccoli and cauliflower from our market friends. We also had cucumbers from some friends, drenched in ranch if you are Rose and Nora. Milk from Coco and rice from the store. For Rose.
Tired, but not too tired to fix a dinner for my precious returned ones.
And to add icing to the cake, we have Dear Rachel Banks back in our home for a nice long visit.
Most of you probably remember dear Rachel Banks, our intern from a couple of years ago, who sort of turned into part of the family.
I was planning on writing about the great joy I get from Farmer's Market, how I love our community, the camaraderie we share with customers and fellow vendors, and the amazing economy that sends me out in the morning with a load of bread and milk and brings me back home with money and lots of amazing fruits and veggies to fill up a cooler. And stories and belly laughter. And hugs. Dear hugs.
But right now, I am pleased that children are home. Relieved that even in our not normal world, we have some moments of comfort.
And REALLY relieved to have some help with the chores!!!