Monday, June 9, 2008

Not Always Perfect

I was wondering last night if my blog posts made this life seem too idyllic.

I was wondering if my conviction that we are raising our kids in the best possible setting comes across as an air of superiority.

I was wondering if anyone "out there" thinks that this life is all about rainbows

and sunsets

and pretty scenery. Because sometimes it rains on our fishing trip to the river, and being trapped in a pickup with six people, four of whom are whiny and hungry, doesn't seem idyllic.

And sometimes, when I think maybe I have motherhood conquered and I'm becoming a pretty okay photographer, I capture a shot that I think will be "the one," and I get home and look at it and discover that my child has a filthy face and a paint chip from the aging wood stuck to her forehead.

I feel like I need to confess that we have an ugly cow.

Sometimes it is terribly dry, and the land is not so pretty. Sometimes it rains so much that it damages the crops. Cutworms destroyed some of our wheat, the price of fertilizer and fuel is causing some high blood pressure around here, and the dog keeps digging up holes in the yard.

Yesterday I spoke of fond summer memories on the farm, and they are pleasant to relive. However, I also remember my dad leaving the house with goggles covering his eyes so he could see through the blinding snowstorm to find the livestock and feed them in the 40 degree below zero temperatures. I remember grasshoppers descending on our crops and pastures and ravaging everything in their path. My childhood was not idyllic, either.

Country life is not always pretty or easy or idyllic. Sometimes I wonder if I have lost my focus and that my kids might be better off if their parents were living somewhere that guaranteed a steady wage, predictable hours, and a health insurance plan. Pizza Hut delivery would be alright, too.

We have four children who stand at the brink of considering careers in agriculture. Should we encourage them to go through that doorway? Should we pull them back?

I remain convicted that this is the best possible place to raise our particular kids. I am confident that they will be well prepared for life when they leave here. Their childhood, like mine, will not be idyllic. They will remember the calf they raised going to slaughter, and they will remember the kittens lost in the cold weather and the chickens lost to the raccoon. They will remember their parents worrying about the future and the hailstorm that left us looking over the destruction, speechless.

And they, like me, will also remember the sunsets and the rainbows. Will they come back to agriculture? I don't know, and I'm okay with that. But I am confident that they will know - and respect - the source of their food.


ZenPanda said...

I have tried to find the best place to raise my children and you know that it really doesn't exist. Through trial & error we learn as parents. Our children take lessons from us and form their own identity and become the adults that we hope will be productive and loving.
You do what you can and the rest is up to the future.

With all the struggles in my family my children have really done better than some who had a "better" upbringing.

I'd bet your children turn out to be great adults.

jane said...

Eventually we all learn that the *grass is not any greener* anywhere...we just do the best we can, raising our kids and everything else too.
We also have our own business...sometimes I long for the steady wage, dependable hours and a health insurance plan too. But then I realize, I wouldn't change a thing.
Again, beautiful pictures!

Anonymous said...

I am now retired and living in a small farming area. I grew up on a small farm in Ohio and have so many good memories of that. The good ones seem to grow and the others fad into the past as I get older. My Dad farmed with horese when I was very young and later used tractors. I remember sitting on the large work horses and riding to the barn when he brought them in for lunch, yes the horses had three meals a day just like my Dad. I could write many pages about the wonders of growing up on a farm and the love and closeness I enjoyed with my parents. Thank you for a wonderful blog that brings back a day of my youth sometimes. The pictures are great, the kids beautiful and I know the life isn't all roses, sometimes the cows eat the roses. Keep writeing and taking pictures.

Anonymous said...

I understand your feelings exactly. We tire of the long drives to town for gas or groceries. The constant list making gets old, because if you forget something this week, it may be a week or two until you get another chance to go to town.

We encouraged our children to pursue careers outside of actual farming/ranching, but one of them didn't listen, and now is coping with the very struggles (of isolation and uncertain income) we hoped they would not have to endure.

But don't you agree, when all is said and done, that the worst day living on the farm/ranch is much better than any day living in a city.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's such a thing as a perfect, idyllic childhood, no matter where you raise your children. I do think, though, that the way you are raising them, and not so much just the way, as the amount of thought you put into it, is going to result in good people, and as parents, isn't that all we *really hope for? I'd say looking back on my childhood on a ranch that yes, there were some rough things, but the memories I have that come to mind immediately, are all good, and I wouldn't change it for the world.


Mama Koch said...

I'm raising/raised boys on the farm. Some of the stories they tell about when they were little are hilarious...and I ask If I was around?!
My goal is to raise healthy kids that can be productive in their adult years in a profession they are happy with--agricultural or not, they have that choice.
I'm also raising my boys the way I was live a simple, God-fearing, nature-loving life and have lots of fun and memories along the way.

cndymkr / jean said...

No matter where you live raising your kids always means alot of questions about your choices. In my fantasy life I would live on a farm but the reality is that I wouldn't survive the first day. So we'll stay in the city and live thru your photos and posts. Thank you.

Rene' said...

I know what you are going through cause we go through that at times as well and yes it is not always idyllic but we do the best we can for our children and what you might not realize is that those memories are being made in your childrens lives today and now. You are doing a great job I think just from what I is like I am right there and you have a real talent for telling it like it REALLY is and that is awesome. This blog entry almost made me cry because I could see you speaking from your heart. I love your blog and look forward to coming and visiting it each day..I only hope one day I can be as candid and real as you-I mean I am real but have a hard time finding the words sometimes. Deep down I think our kids truly LOVE growing up in the country even with the hard things they may face-they have their family and are making some great memories. Hugs to you!!

Dawn said...

Your last post and this were so very well written.

I don't think there is any perfect *place* to raise children. I think it has more to do with your family life, the values, ethics and morals that are instilled.

We are thankful for people who choose to live your life to provide the food that is on our table each night!


The Pastoral Princess said...

I too struggle with some of the pitfalls of raising children on the farm. But I think the positives far outweigh the negatives!! My husband keeps telling my kids that if they want to go into farming, they should be engineers for John Deere instead of a farmer....of course they are 2 and 4, they just give him that "HUH?" look...

P.S. I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog too!! I was raised on a small farm in Ohio and want to raise my kids on a farm. But farms are too expensive for teachers / engineers who are 25 yrs old!!! So we will compromise by raising our kids 1 mile from our family's farm. I've dreamed of living in Montana my entire life. wow to live near mountains! now reality has set in; I'd rather have my children be near to family the way I was ("running away" to grandma's next door was amazing). i'll have to settle on montana vacations.

i can tell you are an amazing mother. keep up the good work!!

Carol Van Rooy said...

I love the phot with the rainbow. It looks like it belongs on a postcard.

Do feel free to pop by and drop a comment to say hello.

Sammi T. said...

I was raised in the country and I will always consider the farm as 'my home'. You are away from, pollution, noise, gangs, drugs, over crowed schools, strangers, violence. I'd say you have found the perfect place to raise your kids. So don't worry about sounding superior. Brag all you want. You have the right.

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