You know, some days don’t start off on the right foot… Some days start off with a teary-eyed boy who just discovered a rogue chick thief had gotten into the greenhouse during the night and killed numerous victims. Some days the kids begin their day with screaming at one another instead of a gentle “good morning”. Some days a hot dry wind blows incessantly as I watch storms pass just to the north, and then just to the south; especially painful because the farm really needs rain. Some days the sheep get out and eat all of the broom corn. Some days I can’t get through a single task without fifteen interruptions and a lot of frustration. Some days I want to rip my skin off because of all of the bug bites and poison ivy. Some days are just utter chaos that leave me feeling like ditching the whole scene for a very long hike in the woods. Yes, there are those days… and if you haven’t figured it out already, I might possibly be describing this very day. Good gracious.But I am a stubborn woman. (I guess that’s a good thing, although my children might say otherwise when they are begging me for something.) I generally do not tuck my tail and run in a panic when things aren’t looking so bright. I might yell and curse a little bit, but I do not flee. (Zen mama I am not.) As hard as it can feel to keep muddling through these frustrating times, muddling through is the only way to actually get through. So muddling it is.
I thought fondly of that Frog and Toad story “Tomorrow” where Toad is laying in bed with the covers over his head, not wanting to face the tasks of the day. He kept telling his buddy Frog that he would do all of those things tomorrow. Then he began to realize that if he just got busy, he would not have to do them tomorrow… tomorrow would be free for something else. So taking Toad’s cue, I started with the dishes in the pavilion sink. I told myself that I would finish all of those dishes before being distracted or moving on to anything else. Just one thing at a time. Livi tried really hard to waylay my focus but I stayed relatively calm and very resolved to finish. In no time she got her cup of milk and her time of waiting was quickly forgotten. And my dishes were done.Slowly but surely, I moved from one task to the next. At some point along the way, I noticed something was happening… Sort of like that phenomenon when you are making jam, and you are stirring the fruit and sugar together, and then it gels. Separate ingredients mingling together to create something new and dynamic and sweet. Shhhh, don’t tell my kids this, but we all started working together. Kind of harmoniously, even. We had reached the gelling point. Despite all of the previous frustrations of the day, we overcame the hurdles the best we could. The children even continued with the house cleaning when I had to go up on the hill to tend the pullets. When I returned to the house, I could hear their eager and excited voices “Mama’s back!” Much to my surprise and pleasure, when I opened the door the previously disastrous house was very neat and tidy. The children were clearly proud of their accomplishments and couldn’t wait to give me the grand tour. I’ll tell you what, that was the sweetest jam I’ve ever tasted!So now, the house is clean. The dishes are done. A batch of pickled beets sits cooling in jars on the counter. The wee ones are sleeping peacefully. Chicks are tucked into safer quarters and traps are set. We even caught the edge of one of those elusive storms and it rained for a few minutes. Holy smokes.