Friday, October 7, 2011

Those Little Bits of Time

This has been one of those weeks where I think I saw my farmer husband, but I'm not really sure.  He's been SO busy for the last several days (not to mention that the rest of our family is busy too) that we've been like ships passing in the night.

But the weather has been beautiful harvest weather, and he must press on while the gathering is good.

In my 11th harvest as a farmer's wife, I've learned how to skillfully steal those little bits of time from him, without him resenting me or making him feel delayed.  Sometimes I just "happen to be passing by later" so I offer to bring him lunch.  Or I'll ask if the 2 year old (who seems to have a nearly unhealthy obsession with tractors) can steal a ride while I shuttle the older two around.  Quality time for them, and ease of getting in and out of the grocery store for me.  Win/Win!

But tonight he asked me to drive him about 20 miles west to pick up a semi that had been worked on this week.  He hopped in the car and we headed out.  We chatted about progress on the harvest, our plans for the weekend, and other odds and ends.  Actually, it could have been considered a date if it weren't for the kids in the back of the van trying just as hard as me to have his attention.  (I think at one point the poor guy actually fell asleep, but the kids just kept talking and never noticed).

So stealing those little bits of time has become an art form.  I'm so skilled in my stealing time "trade" that he felt like he was asking a favor of me, when in reality this time with him was his favor to me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It Takes a Village

We've all heard the term, "It takes a village to raise a child."  I've always interpreted that statement as permission for me to ask for help when it comes to caring for and raising my own children.  Somewhat selfish, I know.

But I have recently had an opportunity to see this in a new way...where I'm the villager helping with another's child.

I have nieces, nephews, and friends with small children.  I've never been shy about helping that child grow or learn from mistakes. Sometimes I handle those situations much more admirably that I would with my own children!  But when I was made aware of a teenager who make a poor judgment call, I was stumped about what to do.  (I will refrain from some details to protect the privacy of this teenager)

I typically treat this teenager with the same respect and trust that I would with any other adult.  So when I learned of her lapse in judgement, I thought, "I should treat her like an adult then, and handle this one-on-one without involving her parents."  I chewed on it for days...almost a week...until I finally realized that I couldn't let it consume me any more.  And I had a convincing conversation with my Mom who said, "If someone were going to confront YOU when you were a teen, I would want to know about it.  And even though you treat her like an adult, SHE'S A CHILD."

So, I called the teen's Mom (who is also a friend).  It was hard to tell the mom about this situation, being that no one likes to know when their kid screwed up.  But she was thankful, concerned, and disappointed in her actions.  Then...get this...she thanked me for keeping an eye on her daughter and told me that I would understand, someday, that it's a good feeling to know that others are looking out for your kids.

It dawned on me that this was one of those It-Takes-A-Village moments.

Later that evening I did talk with the teen and settled things.  She's learned what she did wrong, both from her mom's perspective and from the "outsider adult" perspective (me).

With my kids being 9, 6 and 2, it looks like a have a lot of "fun" to look forward to in the teenage years.  So if you see one of my young ones doing something they shouldn't, PLEASE don't hesitate to correct them and/or let me know so I can!

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