I’m not sure I will ever quite get over the “how cool is that?!?” factor of loading up before breakfast to run down to the post office and pick up a box of chicks.
The email was a welcome bit of encouragement: you are not forgotten, I pray for you and your family, your work. There was a simple ask at the end. Just a request to partner in ministry.
And yet… the tears.
We school year-round—three months on, one month off. The shorter, intermittent breaks suit the rhythm of our family well. By the end of a twelve week summer break, all of us were craving structure and weary of open-ended days. Too, we find the heat of the summer in the south exhausting at its peak, and not enjoyable in the “we’re on vacation!” sense. So: three on, one off. The perfect compromise.
“Measure his education, not solely by his progress in the ‘three R’s,’ but by the number of living and growing things he knows by look, name, and habitat.” –Charlotte Mason
The sun is out nearly every afternoon now, warm and inviting. There have already been a few trips to check in on the creek, and a good number of plans made for a whole village of “mouses’ houses.” The back field has been plowed. Birds are flitting in and out of the houses that dot our property.
Three nights away. Three much-anticipated nights away with Daddy, which would be full of the adventure of visiting Mamaw and Papaw, exploring a much-beloved museum, seeing friends.
Just three nights.
The hardest part of moving from one home to another is leaving behind the memories. Yes, I have missed certain elements of a specific home’s layout (I still think the huge laundry closet located in the kitchen of the very first home that we owned was brilliant) or just an overall place (our home in Washington will forever be in my heart). But it’s the memories that happened in those spaces that made me ache as we pulled away from the curb, no matter how thrilled I was to be moving on.
Moving to a farm mid-July pretty much guarantees that, unless the previous owners up and decided to sell just as the fruits of their many labors are about to burst into bloom, you are walking into a whole lot of work and a whole lot of wait. That was the case for us with Floating Axe; the family who lived here prior had given up even small-scale gardening years ago. The back fields were in hay, the fencing was all gone, and aside from a massive dog kennel, there was nothing of form left behind.
For the first time in the life of our family, we have work. Of course, there’s always been work. Floors that need to be mopped, papers that need to be written, that dining room table that I really, really liked but couldn’t afford that we decided to build. That’s all work. No denying that.
But suddenly, we have work. Work that has a hard timeline (fence that chicken yard or you’ll lose another hen to hawks). Work that is dirty (“I think we should build an outdoor shower.” “I think that is the smartest thing you’ve ever said.”). Work that is never ending (done mowing that acre up top? Good. There’s another one right here waiting its turn.).
The birth certificate arrived.
I used to have a rock-solid list of “nevers.” Most of them revolved around parenting my as-yet-to-have-been-conceived perfectly matched set of two children. You know the list, right? “I’ll never spank my kids.” “I’ll never give my kids junk food.” “I’ll never say it’s bedtime at 6 p.m. just so I can get two hours of peace before I fall asleep on the couch.”