|Bitterly cold, snowy, and a bit empty.|
The New Year began with bitter cold, profuse rain, and thick ice everywhere. This, of course, complicated the daily care and feeding of the horses, alpacas, dogs, chickens, ducks, and cats. The mop to the horse stalls in the barn froze solid. The gallon container of pine liquid which has never frozen in years past, froze solid and ruptured its plastic container. I wore vinyl gloves to protect my hands underneath leather ones to protect my hands from chapping while taking care of waters and animals. It was so cold that my eyes became windburned and bloodshot, something which has never happened, even when we were in Siberia. Thus far, the New Year has been cold and dark.
One of the things that is surprising to me in life, is that when our children grow up, we might not change as much as we think. I remember, as if it were last year, my eldest children going to school for the first time. I remember what I served them for breakfast the first day of school. I remember what they wore. It seems to me that they have grown so quickly, and that in many ways, that I have not changed nearly as much. I suppose that is a good thing. This week as I walked out land with one of my sons, I kept up with him on the hilly terrain. I am not a middle-aged woman. I am simply a woman with adult children. Strangely, when my daughter bought her house on acreage a bit more than a year ago, I was as excited as she. Rather than signing a lease and getting stuck in a garden apartment where she likely would not save, and might spend more than she should on furnishings, she moved out of our farm into her first home, one year out of college. This was tough and took considerable work and skill, and a lot of faith. She bought a home which although fairly new required some fairly large renovations. I am very proud of her that it worked out so well. There were no twinges of the empty nest syndrome when she departed. There was simply joy that she had found a home she loved that wasn't too far from us, should she ever wish to visit.
This week blew in with both the cold, and one of our sons looking at a few acres in another county that he plans to buy and then build a home. The lot is very nice and it's a good buy and he should buy it. I was unprepared for the feelings it stirred in me, and I felt a bit guilty for this. This will be the second child launched from the farm, and he deserves this opportunity just as much as our daughter did. However, I think I recognized that our daughter's departure was on schedule, and I expected it to be several years before any of our sons departed as well. I suppose in the smallest coldest recesses of my soul, Daniel's unscheduled departure triggered the feeling that perhaps I would be able to have our other children with us a bit longer. I love them all so much and I have always enjoyed watching them make their way in the world. I know that one by one, they will each leave the farm, and this is very much what we have raised them to do. They need not only to be as competent as adults as we were, but even more so, as I believe the world to be a more complex and a more difficult place in which to make ones way.
And so, we inch closer and closer to the day in which all of them, one by one, and possibly fairly quickly will launch and fly from the farm that was our nest. My children during the day will then just be equines, canines, camelids, and others. Would you believe that this week I have been offered a zebra, two monkeys, and a baby elephant ? Don't worry. As much as Daniel would have enjoyed these, my animal plate is full just now. Keeping up with some of the animals who are aging can be occasionally demanding, but I am happy to do it. I just wish that Daniel remained here with us, in order to help me with it, before making his own way in the world, as his siblings are doing.
I still find great pleasure in watching those, the same age as my kids, make their way in the world.