A Mother's Day epiphany
This current pandemic has all of us feeling a lot like a cow stuck in a pen. Stuck in a boundary we can’t cross, unsure of the future and helpless with what to do.
Farming continues to be an interesting endeavor these days as we are now approaching six weeks of quarantine, processing plants closing due to sickness, huge price fluctuations, meat shortages and everything in between.
Our home life has changed some but not at much as some, I would imagine. We have struggled with enough internet to accommodate four online students, increases in household inventory with everyone home and the tension of living in a state of limbo. All things that most of us are facing for sure.
However, yesterday was Mother’s Day and I had an epiphany in the midst of all the chaos and change we are going through right now. Despite the unprecedented challenges we are currently facing as a society, life does continue to go on. I have always taken motherhood quite seriously. I consider it to be the greatest gift I have been given in my life, and for that reason I cherish every moment I spend with my children. Most are not really children anymore but young adults moving into a place of independence, marriage and college. But yesterday, everyone was home. It was glorious for me to sit back and soak in all of them at once. It caused me to reflect a bit on the time we spend out on the farm each and everyday caring for our livestock. Additionally, it gave me pause to consider the joy I have of witnessing motherhood each and every day out in the pasture.
The parallel that exists between our profession and everyday life sometimes astounds me. I am so thankful for it because it keeps me grounded and is a constant reminder of what is truly important. No matter what day of the week it is, we have chores to do. Mind you, I am not complaining, just stating fact. Our animals depend upon us for care. At this time of year, there is more on the list everyday as we are calving. It is also breeding season and with that comes additional work to make sure all is getting done in a timely manner. We have a small nursery in the pen located right across the drive from our home where we place newer calves and their mothers for the first couple of weeks after they are born so that they are close to the house. We have experienced some predator problems in the past and want to avoid any loss if possible. I love it because I can see and watch the new mothers with their calves during the day.
It is pure joy to watch the calves as they grow and become more curious of their surroundings. They begin to wander about more with each passing day of life. I watch as their mothers follow them around in earnest concerned with keeping them close. An occasional bath will ensue followed by or in tandem with a quick snack before they are off running around again.
Yesterday, in the early dusk of the evening, our newest calf managed to slip through the fence out onto the driveway during his nightly jaunt. From the window, we all watched as mother became distraught at the lack of control she had in that moment. My two oldest boys headed out the door in a flash to prevent the calf from reaching the road. We realized that if he wandered too far from mother, he would panic and that could be a disaster. I could see the cow beginning to get nervous. She was feeling helpless, stuck in the boundaries of the fence. Fortunately, my boys wrangled the calf back up the drive into a spot of safety, scooped him up and delivered him safely back to his mother.
This current pandemic has all of us feeling a lot like that cow. Stuck in a boundary we can’t cross, unsure of the future and helpless with what to do. I believe with my whole heart that as we move through this process, our lives will look different but our future will be bright. My faith gives me strength to know and believe that we will be delivered safely to our next step and that our job is to stay the course.
Lawrence and her husband Bryan raise turf grass, alfalfa, corn and purebred Hereford cattle near Princeton, Minn. She works for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation and is state coordinator for the Speak for Yourself program. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.