We all woke up way too early.
It rained all night long.
The kids were ready, had eaten their eggs, drunk their coffee and even read the paper and still had a long time to brush teeth and wait for the bus. I wonder if that will ever happen again?
I felt a little teary seeing them off, but proceeded to do laundry and take care of housekeeping chores. Spent some time working on the computer, taking care of numbers.
Mid-morning a song touched my heart. It opened the door to buckets of grief. I sobbed and sobbed as pain flowed. I grieved Philip. I grieved not homeschooling. I grieved knowing someone else would teach Nora how to read. I grieved thinking about our history and literature lessons around the dining room table in front of the fireplace, text books in hand, white board full of amazing information and at least three kids learning while braiding my hair into hundreds of braids.
Really, I guess the biggest thing I grieved was the death to our normal.
No more normal. We are having to come up with a new normal and it is hard.
After sitting on the floor, rocking and crying for awhile, I got up and put on the tevas to go down the field to separate Coco from the herd. The calves milked her for me this morning.
I thought the walk would do me good. Once the drizzles stopped the weather turned beautiful. Fresh and cool.
I walked down the hayfield where she and the gang placidly grazed.
For a moment she appeared to cooperate.
Then she detoured and took me on a labyrinthine journey through a forest of 7ft tall stick weed. The weed is becoming beautiful, with sunshiny yellow flowers crowning the tall stalks.
Criss cross, she moved along the side of the creek, heading at least in the right general direction. About the time we got to the home end of the field, she darted, made a U-turn and ran to rejoin the herd.
For such a big gal, she can move very briskly.
I followed, definitely out of control of the situation. She led me through the mud, through the marsh and up into the woods. I tried to head her off, gently and slowly, but no dice.
Finally I managed to turn her around and the rest of the herd joined us as we traipsde through the woods. The walk isn't terrible, if you don't mention that I slid through mud in the stream, got wet and dirty and the feet were covered in muck. Why, oh why did I not put on the work boots?
Once again we reached the gate, made our way through it this time, and as we meandered I trie desperately to appreciate the lovely wildflowers. And the amazing diversity in wild mushrooms, unfortunately poisonous, for the most part.
Once again Coco took advantage of my limited resources and bolted for the barnyard. And through another open gate leading to another field.
Once again I followed.
After a very long walk with Coco, into another field, across the stream again, by now, stomping through the water, so at least the manure got rinsed off my toes, we headed up the steep ridge and I wondered why I am doing this. She took off across the stream and I gave up.
I realize that there are going to be many moments when I miss the kids on the farm.
Little by little I will figure out new strategies and methods. But today I decided to wait and let the kids team up to separate her for me this afternoon and we will manage without milk this evening.
You would think that all that exercise would make me feel happy and productive.
But at least it was good for my health.
And according to the Kubler-Ross book, On Grief and Grieving, the crying was good for my health, too.
She writes about how acknowledging pain is part of the healing process. Feeling the pain made me realize I had no resources to even chat with my friends today. Needed to save everything for the kids this afternoon.
They came home happy, full of information, all of them eager to share their story of the day. It was funny that the very first things Nora and Rose mentioned was that school was very loud. They are tired. But they made it through just fine. We all sat around the table, I signed papers, listened to them tell me about their teachers and friends and we all ate icecream that Jason brought over for us yesterday.
Well, Rose is making homemade whole wheat cookies for tomorrow's snacks. Everyone else is preparing to take care of evening chores. We will try hard to go to bed early so I can get up and work and they can make the bus. I wonder if icecream counts as supper?
PS Guess what I found in the garden as I embarked on my fruitless adventure to get Coco?
Bursting out of the ground was a HUGE sweet potato! So big and perfect and absolutely lovely, I couldn't believe that we grew it ourselves! Well, actually, I didn't do much to grow the thing, just raised the beds and planted, but I still felt quite proud to pick it anyway. We won't harvest them yet, but since it practically jumped into my hand, I had no choice with this first treat.