This is a picture of my husband, driving a tractor down the side of Highway 6. Where is he going, and what is he doing?
The possibilities are endless, really. He is forever on a tractor or a lawn mower or a horse or in a truck or a bigger truck or hooking or unhooking a boat or a trailer or - most recently - on a bulldozer. And he might be playing just as well as working. And sometimes, it's all one in the same, to him.
Between our place in Piedmont and the farm where we live, there is an endless to-do list of things that need to be mowed, chopped, moved, burned, repaired, built, painted, constructed, or fixed. Some things need to be done in a hurry, to protect people and animals or to save or recoup money. Some things have no time frame, but the sooner the better, really. And yet more things are strictly items that The Lovely Unbadgering Wife (Hi, that's me, right?) begs to have done to pretty up the look and style of things.
99.9% of these tasks and monumental endeavors require substantial coin and/or time. Time that is often sparse between two full-time jobs, one toddler girl, the events and celebrations of everyday life, church, errands, and the occasional need to bathe, breathe, and eat macaroni and cheese. And coin that is otherwise engaged in keeping the lights on, the A/C blasting, the vehicles running, and the bellies full.
Hearing all this gallop through my brain every few weeks is enough to send me screaming into a half gallon of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip ice cream - with Magic Shell Chocolate on top - and I wonder, "Why?"
Why do we do this and work for this and want this? Why do we care?
But then three redbirds swoop around and land on the yard fence, right next to Katie's pinwheels, and she points at the birds and smiles so big. Or we all crowd into the Jeep and bang our way through the pasture, passing wildflowers and pecan trees and staring into sunshine, feeling the Spring and watching Katie Girl bug out her eyes at everything. Perhaps we will even head to the pond out in Piedmont to float in that cool, spring-fed water, getting out just long enough to eat Cheetos and Chips Ahoy.
Most certainly we will sit on the front porch at home and comment on how good it feels outside, while Katie plays with toys strewn from one end to the other, occasionally telling Sugar or Bossy or Penelope to "Shoo, Sug, shoo!" so that she can push her grocery buggy in a straight line. And on consecutive nights, as supper ends and evening comes, she will ride on the tractor, help feed the puppies, tell the horses to "Come!" with her palm held outstretched, wiggling her little fingers, and she will remind us that "Rooster cock-a-doos!"
Seeing everything through her baby eyes for the first time, as she becomes more confident in running through the yard and climbing the porch steps, I am reminded of how beautiful and fun it all is. How important all the animals and grass and trees and OUTSIDE is when it comes to childhood and memories and growing well. All of that work is completely worth it when I think about the childhood memories she will have, the lessons she will learn, and the satisfaction that her daddy and I will feel at the end of a completed project or a hard day of true labor. Not to mention the joy it brings to share all of that with our families, friends, and their little people.
Anybody wanna go for a pony ride?
Speaking of animals, there are some that I am not so good at cultivating: arachnids. Spiders. Creepies of the highest order. (Led only in extreme, choking gag-ness by this thing.)
Last night, I noticed a tiny one chillin' out on the crown molding in Katie's room. After darting to the safety of my room, I asked Brady to please destroy it. So he took Katie with him. I suspect so that she will learn how to protect me in the future, when he is not home. Then my dad or brother-in-law or sister will not have to dress themselves, get in the vehicle, and drive to my house in the night to kill them for me.
I can hear them applauding and throwing tomatoes from here.
After they captured the offending beast in some toilet paper, they went back to the bathroom to flush it straight to the Gulf of Mexico. I could hear him telling her they were going to flush it down. And then, in the wee-est, sweetest, baby girl voice, a salute: