Today is my birthday.
My plan for the day was simple. After enjoying church with my family, I was going to catch up on some housework, do some baking, and then watch a movie I've been wanting to see for ages but haven't had time to sit still long enough to watch it.
As a farmer's wife, I know better than to plan.
And I knew my plan was going to go far, far awry when my spouse requested help sorting off pairs (cows and their calves) prior to branding tomorrow.
Then it started snowing. It was a mixture of sleet that hits your face like hundreds of tiny daggers and sopping wet snow that soaks through your clothes and chills you to your core.
My position in the cattle sorting adventure was, of course, at the gate. My duty was to let through only those pairs delineated on a list in my hand that was becoming more and more difficult to read as the paper soaked up the water dripping from the brim of my hat.
The task might sound easy, but when all the cows want out the gate in which you are standing, and your job is to let only certain cows -- and their darting, kicking, naughty little calves -- to the other side, you begin to imagine all sorts of activities that would bring you more pleasure. Cleaning the bathroom seems like a lovely way to spend half an hour. Listening to a clarinet recital sounds diverting. Anything that can be done in dry jeans and a warm sweater would be preferable to your current position.
My punishment for thinking that my birthday could not get much worse than that was, naturally, an additional hour that was, in fact, quite worse. I found myself once again on the wrong end of a kicking calf, but this time, my job was to splint a broken bone. I will spare you the details, but I will share that it is impossible to rip duct tape when your hands are frozen stiff and soaked in blood.
You may be wondering why this post is titled "I Love My Kids." Allow me to explain.
When I returned to the house, soaked, frozen, filthy, and tired, I expected to find mass chaos. Instead, I found a (relatively) tidy house, happy kids, a vase full of dandelions on the table, two "Happy Birthday Mom" banners taped over the doorways, and a frosted cookie decorated with candy.
The three-year-old presented me with a card covered with the letter "E" for her name. It's the only letter I've gotten around to teaching her. She was so pleased with herself, as were the other kids who experienced the joy of doing something nice for someone without the expectation of personal gain. Their excitement shone in their faces.
It was the perfect ending to a not-so-perfect day.