Haste. Hurry. Hustle. This is how I feel when we do HAYLAGE. This year I was definitely less stressed out than last year but I really hope that each year I will become more and more relaxed during these harvests. I mean, goodness, all I have to do is make meals and coffees for the guys. And baking. Everyone loves baking. Somehow everyone's always a little bit happier when they've got some lovin' from the oven in their tummy. But that's just my personal opinion. Needless to say, the extra time keeping the guys fed and watered and helping Peter do chores in the barn definitely keeps things busy around here. I'm so thankful for my mother-in-law, who still helps with all of this. I couldn't imagine doing it without her! And Grandpa. Grandpa, who turned 81 this year and drives harvestor all.day.long. Grandpa knows how to keep things in perspective. He was finished in the field for the day and came to see how we were making out in the barn. Grandma had picked up Silas and Levi earlier to take them to swimming lessons so I could help with chores and Gracie Jo was keeping an eye on Jude outside. Katie was playing happily (for the moment) in her stroller while I fed calves and Grandpa strolled over, hands in his pockets with a big smile on his face.
"Happy to be done for the day?", I ask, squinting from the sweat running into my eyes.
"Well," says Grandpa, pausing, with a shrug and eyes shining, "it's not every day that I can help my sons on the farm, while my wife takes her GREAT-grandsons to swimming lessons and come back to the barn to find my grandson and his wife taking care of the cows. Even my youngest great-granddaughter is here. Not everyone is this lucky you know."
I look up, wipe the sweaty hair away from my face, take a deep breath...and smile.
Because he's right. Even in the craziness, the 'Thanks for the coffee, babe, I love you. See you tonight...if you're not already sleeping', the "Just let me feed the baby quick and I'll be right out." , the "Hold on, I just need to bring the guys their lunch and THEN we'll eat", and the "No you can't go to the barn! Stay away from the barn AND the sand pile, they're doing haylage." ...
Even in all this.
So thankful for the wisdom of Grandpa, for his perspective that overflows from a grateful heart.
His words echoed in my mind all summer. And on those crazy days, when I felt overwhelmed and overdone and like I was just barely holding it all together, I would remember those sweet words. I would stop and look around; at this crew of wild and wonderful kids who think everyday is an incredible adventure, this farm that provides not just a living but a lifestyle of family and togetherness, and my husband - a constant rock in my wavy seas, always there holding me up with his love and support. Putting smiles on his weary wife's face with a single look. And Grandpa's joy and pride would fill my heart. Because, really,
"Not everyone is this lucky, you know?"
Gray hair is a mark of distinction,
the award for a God-loyal life.