it was 6:45 am,we were over 100 miles away from the farm sipping our first breve of the day at the metro nashville farmers market. (thanks to julie, the butter cake babe, for her willingness to smile and fire up the espresso machine long before there are any other customers even awake!) the market stand was all set up and we were happily waiting for the day to heat up and our loyal customers to start arriving. deannas phone rang and we knew, at that hour, it had to be news from the farm. after a brief moment of panic, we all gazed excitedly at charlotte’s text with attached photo: mama pig and five healthy piglets.
it is difficult, agonizing sometimes, to leave the farm in someone else’s care as we travel to market. we are gone for at least 12 hours, usually more like 16. we are well out of range to assist if any trouble arises. we attempt to equip our farm’s apprentices with enough information to handle unknown livestock scenarios, but there are way way too many “what ifs” to truly prepare them for many such events: setting up a nest for newly born piglets with heat lamp and creep would not have been outlined.
for the past 3 years at least, maybe more, my oldest son has stayed back from market. perhaps tired of the saturday drill he did for over a decade, likely aching for a little alone time, once he took over the daily chore of milking, he was tied to the farm, even on saturdays. now, he is solidly in his teen years, he has spent every day of his life on this farm, he has witnessed nearly every possible animal event. with the newfound strength of adolescence and the opportunity to problem solve without parental meddling, the capable loving hands of my own first born child, along with the assistance of a wonderful apprentice charlotte, had our new piglets warm, safe and happy within minutes, barely late for the milking they were on their way to.
lots of people ask about sasha. now that he nears the time most would go to high school, how is the home educating going? what about friends? social skills? algebra? the list is endless. my answer varies, but the message is clear: he is articulate and happy, caring and responsible. heck, i even enjoy spending time with him. i am not sure how much more i could ask for in a teen. he is this farm, more than i am, he was born here and knows this place in ways i never will. he is moving quickly toward man hood and i am sure he will succeed in any endeavor he chooses.
mama’s work is difficult. the pressures to succeed too numerous to mention. the instinct to raise our young is so strong. if only we could shut our eyes and ears to societal and cultural pressures, then we could all hear loudly our maternal love and proceed confidently on our journey knowing all of the answers lie within. perhaps then, this mothering would be easier.