I pulled down the lane. Off in the distance driving in the field was my husband. It was just another spring day planting until after dark. Another day for my girls and me to bring supper out to the field. And it would be another night of me “alone” at home with our three daughters. It had already been a really long day for me at home with cranky kids and a baby refusing to nap. I was exhausted to say the least, and gathering up kids to leave and an extra meal just added to the struggle.

All four of us waited for him to make his way over to us. He hopped on out of the tractor and got his bag of supper and snacks. Soon our oldest two were asking to ride in the tractor with Daddy until he was done. Why not? Mommy needs a break! And Daddy could use some company. So they both popped out of the vehicle, jammies and all, excited to go with Daddy.

As I watched them walk hand in hand to the tractor, a smile overcame my face.

There isn’t a sight that is quite as beautiful to me as kids experiencing life on the farm.

And I thought back to my childhood days growing up on the farm.

Days that went too fast, and days I wish I could return to. A time when we couldn’t wait to find out what was going on for the weekend. Going out in the brisk spring morning excited to see what new baby calves were born. Then at times, sad to see when that little calf didn’t quite make it.

Riding along in the heat of the day as Dad planted with a four-row planter. The smell of a fresh bucket load of silage in the middle of winter. Going into the chicken coop to gather eggs but being scared of the chickens. Then you chase those chickens so Grandma yells out the window at you, “Leave those chickens alone!”

Morning and night chores of bottle-feeding calves and days of being mad when that crazy calf knocked over that milk bucket. Riding horses in the field and along the gravel road. Dares of licking that salt block and watching your brother get his tongue stuck to the bale ring in the winter. Dreaded days of chopping thistles, picking up rocks in the field, building a fence and cleaning out calving pens. Looking forward to fishing in the pond after a long day and swimming in the cattle tank “swimming pool” to cool off. Driving the four-wheeler around for fun and looking for cow pies for whatever reason. Aunts, uncles, and cousins getting together to put meat in the freezer and to put away sweet corn for the year.

Riding on the fender of the open cab tractors with the radio cranked. Hours of moving cattle on the road with family and friends, which always seemed more fun to us kids. Excitement when harvest rolled around to spend long days in the tractor with Grandpa, with not much to do between loads but talk and do word finds. Riding long hours in the combine with Dad only to fall asleep from the repetitive sight of the rows going into the corn head. Getting pulled around in the snow on a detached car hood by the tractor, with a bunch of your cousins in the wintertime.

Waking up to cattle mooing outside the bedroom window because they got through the fence again. Learning how to drive for the first time on the tractor and then attempting to do it yourself with many failures. Hearing the beller of a newborn calf in the basement that had to be brought in for the night. Riding in the back of the pickup down the gravel road. Dropping everything when a neighbor calls needing help. Always getting “Jolly Rancher Fire” candy when you check cows. Crawling up in the corn crib to knock down ears of corn for grinding. Feeding the cows ear corn out of the back of the pickup.

The memories are endless. And they are some of my best memories.

There is just something about growing up on the farm. You learn about life in such a different way.

You learn to take pride in what you have and to be content in what God has given you. You learn about how fragile life can be. A hard day’s work is something you experience firsthand and the feeling of accomplishment is well earned.

Responsibility and teamwork aren’t an option, it how things get done. You learn to respect and to listen. You learn to talk to God and to pray . . . A LOT . . . as farming has no guarantees.

You see loss and you see failure but the successes are well worth it. You make little mistakes that end up being big mistakes and you learn from them. You’re taught nothing is worth getting hurt over . . . nothing.

There is always work to be done every day of the week, but sometimes that needs to be put aside to make time for some fun. You learn to entertain yourself outside with what is around you. You learn to fix things yourself and you learn to ask for help when you need it.

You learn to hold tight to your family because, after all, they are all that matters in the end. And most importantly, you see God’s ever-present hand in the day-to-day.

And my kids get the opportunity to experience all of that. They get to learn firsthand what no book, school, town or city could ever teach in the same way.

I am so thankful to God for our ability to offer the farm life to them.

Every day they get to make their own memories. Memories I hope they look back on one day with a smile. I hope they realize how fortunate they are to get to learn about life while on the farm.

I took a quick picture to remember the moment by and headed out the lane. Forgetting my struggles and stresses of the day and just being happy with the life I have been given. Oh and that cranky baby. She fell asleep on the way home.

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Melinda Tietsort

Melinda is a married, mother of three girls. She works as a Physical Therapist Assistant, lives in rural Northwest Iowa and enjoys the farm life. She is a Christian and is trying to live the life God intends for her. She offers Christian encouragement and inspiration to others on her blog, "Pursuing a Christ-Centered Life." Follow it at: achristcenteredlife.blogspot.com