Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day Farm Style

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and if I had the timing down on this column I would have written it last week. But anyone who knows me also knows that timing is not one of my strengths. It is yet another cross my poor wife must bear. Jennifer should get to celebrate Mother’s Day quarterly instead of annually.
Like many farm and ranch wives, Jennifer’s day starts early. Our alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning, breakfast is made, kids are awakened and we are out the door around 6:30 to do chores. After chores, Jennifer goes back into the house and gets ready for work. She and the kids are out the door by 7:30 and headed for the school.
During the day, Jennifer works at our local school. As with most farm families, we rely on her off-farm job for our health insurance. Then after a long day of work, she comes home to help on the farm, do more chores, take the kids places, prepare meals, do the laundry and clean house. The weekends only bring more places to go, farm tasks to complete and very little rest and relaxation. Top that off she has to deal with two teenagers and a grumpy husband, it’s a life I suspect many of you can identify with
Farm and ranch wives are a special class of people and my wife is one of the most special I know. She works at two jobs and makes too many sacrifices for our family. Her sacrifice is best summed up in her Mother’s Day gift request. She asked for a metal gate.
How many women ask for a metal gate for Mother’s Day? Actually her request was for several metal gates and the corresponding new fence that would go with them. She made this request this past Sunday as we fixed fence to allow the ewes to graze. The metal gate in question would replace the “temporary” wire gate to the calving pasture.
Her other request was for a crock pot with a timer. Our Saturdays are often very busy with farm related tasks. Many of these days Jennifer puts something in the crock pot so we can have a warm meal at noon. Crock pot meals are also very frequent attractions in the evening. A sit-down supper is something we try to adhere to as a family most nights.
Like most farmers and ranchers I suspect I take everything she does too much for granted. Often I am in too big of a rush to get things done. I get too wrapped up in my work and often have tunnel vision. We spend our lives rushing from one point to another.
I am sure there are a million gifts Jennifer would rather receive for Mother’s Day. Heaven knows, there are more extravagant gifts she so much deserves. Like her fellow farm and ranch wives, she makes daily sacrifices for our children and she makes daily sacrifices for me.
Mother’s Day is a pittance compared to the rewards my wife deserves. One day of relaxation and pampering is not nearly enough, and often gets put on the back burner if a crisis arises on the farm. I know it is the life she agreed to when she married me, and the sacrifices are part of our way of life. A way of life I am also very sure she wouldn’t trade for anything.
So maybe this year Jennifer will have the perfect Mother’s Day. The cows and sheep will behave themselves, she can sleep while the kids and I do chores, we can make it to church with very little stress and the perfect restaurant can be found with no waiting. A quiet afternoon, maybe with a nap can be found. Well that, and the shiny red metal gate with a bow. None of it will be enough for all she does.

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