Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Just when I thought this old farmhouse was packed to the gills with toys, hand-me-down clothes we’re waiting to grow into, fine china we use once a year and people, our daughter (nearly 4) invited a friend to live with us. We’re now a family of 5. 


For the last week “Matilda” has found refuge in our house and while she doesn’t take up much space (I have yet to see her), she sure is a handful. 


On Sunday morning Caroline told me she didn’t get much sleep because Matilda kicked her all night. I shrugged it off. She’s talked about Matilda before. Matilda was a friend and playmate of Caroline’s at the daycare before the daycare shut down due to COVID-19. Since reopening of the facility, we haven’t seen Matilda’s return. It’s been a big deal for a 35-pounder. She’s quit asking about how many days until Christmas and has begun asking when she’ll see Matilda again. 


So, when she mentioned Matilda kicking her in bed, I figured it was a dream about her long-lost friend. 


On Sunday afternoon I heard a thud, followed by Cyrus – who is typically extremely even tempered – screaming. I dried my hands on a dishtowel and dashed into the living room. There I found Caroline scolding Matilda for shoving her little brother into the coffee table because he was rearranging Caroline’s corral system. What a protective big sister. 


On Monday we went to IGA and I asked both kids to hold my hand as we crossed the parking lot. Caroline put out her hand but stayed two feet from me. After stopping twice and asking why she wouldn’t hold my hand, she reminded me that Matilda was in the middle. How could I forget?


On Tuesday she asked why I didn’t pack a paper sack lunch for Matilda. On Tuesday afternoon she reminded me in a high pitch scream – as I put the car in drive – that I forgot to buckle Matilda into the car seat. I nearly drove though the church sign and wondered what kind of insurance Matilda has. 


On Wednesday we went out to do evening chores and I asked Caroline if she needed to go potty before we began our adventure. She said no. Fifteen minutes and through three gates later, I hear her screaming over the diesel growl of the Kubota. 


“Mom!! Mommy!! Matilda has to go potty!”


“Tell her to hold it. We’ll be back to the house in 30 minutes,” I yelled to the bed of the Kubota where the kids prefer to ride. 


“She can’t hold it! Has to go pretty bad!”


I didn’t know if I should put Caroline in time out or acting school for such a sham.


I stopped the Kubota and asked, “OK. Caroline. Is it you or Matilda that has to potty?”


Without missing a beat, “Mom. It’s Matilda. But I’ll probably go, too, since we’re having a break.”


I stopped the Kubota in the middle of the pasture and helped Caroline. Then, and I can’t believe I’m even telling you this, I also helped Matilda get her britches back up. Let me just say, Caroline, Matilda and I could win a wicked game of charades. 


On Thursday Caroline asked if Matilda could come to her 4th birthday party and I told her yes, only if she brings a gift and doesn’t spend the night. 


On Friday we stopped by the farmer’s market at State Rd. 38 and Turnpike (a column in itself) and I allowed both kids to pick something from the goodies. Cyrus chose a loaf of honey wheat bread and Caroline chose a cup of lemonade. Matilda, apparently, wanted pickled beets but I talked her off the ledge and she settled for splitting the lemonade with Caroline. That was fun, requesting a second, empty cup from the elderly Amish lady. 


Here it is, Saturday night, and I’m exhausted from welcoming another child into the family on such short notice. I’m also googling how to kick minors out of your home without retaliation. Didn’t Dr. Phil do a show on this?





Wednesday, June 10, 2020

This Is the Day

My favorite child will always be the one who cries out for me in the night, then proceeds to cover me in little bits of supper. Because it is that child, in that moment, that needs me the most.

It was a beautiful day. Birds were singing a morning song, I could hear my husband zipping around the farm feeding cattle and a little girl singing a Frozen tune downstairs. I was stuck upstairs rocking a sick boy, with the blinds shut in a room dark.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” I thought to myself. On a beautiful day when I had so much to do!

I had a long list clouding my mind. Sweep all floors, then mop. Vacuum the carpet. Slice the watermelon. Wash the rugs. Sweep grass clippings off the patio and sidewalk. Pick up 250 toy cows and horses from the living room - and every other room in the house. Clean the toilet. Put away all the laundry I had washed yesterday. Water the garden and flowers. Get things ready for our first Sunday back into the church. Check on a few loose ends regarding approaching work events: signing contracts, reserving chairs, updating an excel sheet with new plant progression numbers and writing a script for an upcoming agronomy video. 

Rocking a sick toddler - for who knows how long - was never on the list. I felt myself getting anxious about the mounting pressure to get it all done. 

But then I looked down at Cyrus and studied how long his eyelashes were. Where did he inherit those? And I noticed how his blonde hair still stands straight up after a warm bath. And I realized that I needed to trim his tiny fingernails – a job that puts us both on edge. Then I watched his tiny chest go up and down slowly; he was finally calming after a rough morning. His breathing got slower and his eyes began to close. I do not recall the last time I studied him and rocked this extremely active almost two-year-old to sleep. 

So, I rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 

And as I did, I sang, 

This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
And be glad in it, and be glad in it
This is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made

It’s incredible what a simple vacation Bible school song can do to a 35-year-old heart. 

Suddenly, my entire outlook on this morning changed significantly. I couldn’t think of one thing on my to-do list that mattered more than the moment I was in. What a small window of time I had, not to mop or sweep, but to cradle this growing child in my arms!

I wasn’t put on this earth to slice watermelon for our afternoon snack or pick up rodeo remnants from the living room floor, though doing both serves our family. 

I was put on this earth to care for, love and raise human beings so they grow into good people. How selfish of me to think otherwise. 

Sick kids on sunny days sure have a way of humbling mothers. 

Well and back to himself