Welcome Spring

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
Spring has sprung in our valley. It has been here for a couple of weeks, yet I have been feeling much like I did as a young mom, when my boys would wake and hit the floor running while I was left rubbing my eyes and clumsily reaching for a cup of coffee, not quite ready to greet the tasks at hand.

This spring has been much like a buzzing alarm, and no matter how many times I hit the snooze button, nature insists on waking up—it, too, ready to hit the floor running and eager to jump back into the game.  But for some reason, I seem to be greeting spring more hesitantly this year. Maybe it is that I am getting older. Or maybe it’s the fact that I have been so busy with one thing pulling me one direction and something else pulling me another, or that I have a high school senior this year, and having to say goodbye to one more of my chicks feels like more than I want to bear.
Even with my heels firmly dug into the soil, like the blade of the plow, it is becoming apparent that my hesitation isn’t slowing down the hands of time. The conversations I have had with myself lately are reminiscent of a coach giving a pep talk to one of his less motivated players…I hope the pep talks work, as there is much to do before the end of May when we welcome family and friends into our yard to celebrate Cole’s accomplishments and witness him spread his wings and fly.
This will be the third of four children who have flown the coop. You would think that it would get easier to watch them go, but it doesn’t. I find it humorous…me being sad when, in actuality, we have spent our whole lives teaching them to fly. Yet I can’t help but be a little sad at the thought of one more of them who has the audacity to actually do it.
I am proud of the men my sons they are becoming, but I miss the everyday face-to-face contact with them. I miss the herds of boys that accompanied Thomas…if Thomas was home, so were fourteen of his buddies, each saying, “Hi, Mom” as they entered the front door and headed for the basement “pit“ where they all hung out. I miss the sound of Lucas on his guitar and being invited to listen to a new song he wrote, which would almost always draw tears of pride. I miss the long talks we had that would end with him pointing out just how un-cool I really was, just like I will miss Cole’s bear hugs, his 3:00 a.m. alarms as he prepares for a hunt, and his pleas for one more piece of hunting gear, one that will ensure he is the biggest and baddest of them all. I will miss walking into the living room and seeing him buried in the sea of notebooks as he prepares to coach another little league or grid kid team.
I know that I must do what we all must do, which is busy ourselves with the tasks at hand. I am grateful to my farmgirl group here in Prosser. When they heard the alarm of spring, they jumped up and welcomed it with open arms. In a recent meeting they event organized a seed and plant swap, giving me a jumpstart on preparing the yard for an upcoming celebration.
As I walked around my yard today, I was invigorated to see some of my old friends returning. My Cherry Plum tree is in full pink blossom; my strawberries and raspberries are showing new life. But it is my sweet little apricot tree, the one “Old Man Winter” has hit three times in the last three years with a late frost, that has encouraged me the most. Even it greeted the season with optimism.
During my stroll through my yard, I even stopped to say hi to my yellow climbing roses that I planted in memory of my mom and grandma. As I pulled away some weeds at their base, I heard myself say, “Another one is leaving.”
And even as the tears rolled down my face, somehow in that moment I found peace. It was almost as if they were there reminding me that he’d be back with his laundry in tow. It was in that very moment that I was able to shed my winter’s blanket and welcome in spring. Finally awake and ready to embrace the weeks ahead, I grabbed the hoe and got busy. And as the sun caught my face, I unzipped my jacket and tied it to my waist, looked up to the sky and said, “Welcome, Spring. Sorry it has taken me so long to join you.”

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  1. Reba says:

    Hello Rene, I so remember the feelings that you are writing about. I was standing in front of my window, crying, after we left our daughter at college in another state, saying, "what am I supposed to do now?" And I heard a small soft Voice say, "you can choose to enjoy life with her no matter where she is or what she is doing, or grieve yourself to death." I chose the first part. Since having made that choice she has traveled to some awesome places while in college and beginning her own new life. And because of her my hubby and I have enjoyed some great travels and our view of the world has been opened up. I guess that day I realized life was not ending just turning a corner. Now as she is settling in the USA I am looking forward to this new time in her life and ours as I do each new Spring, smelling the daffodils or just living life simply.

  2. carol McElroy says:

    Oh what good timing, my youngest will leave home next year, and of all the kids he is the one most ready to go…….I will miss the friends he brings, and I do not know what I will do with my self. You are right Rene, we spend their whole life getting them ready to go. And then they do. I had a long talk with myself about that very subject while I was in the garden yesterday. I know you are proud of the man he is becoming. ENJOY Spring, Carol

  3. Gary says:

    What a excellent Bloggie Rene’…
    Straight from the Heart… that’s your best writing style, as through your words we join you in your Spring meandering and melancholy.
    When I was a very young child, I remember laying by the fireplace on the living room floor and telling my Mom and Pop that we should just all "stay here because we’re happy", and she tried to explain why we couldn’t do that.
    I too find that, as I grow older, there is a odd "Peace" to Winter, which is shattered by the arrival of Spring.
    Looking back, I recall how it seemed like time had no end, and looking forward, I wonder how it all went by so fast.
    I think "living well" is the business of making good Memories, for while the time goes by and is gone forever, the Memories are ours to keep.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    Gary
    in Tampa

  4. Carol says:

    Oh Rene! I can totally relate as the last of my four is a senior this year and I’m feeling the same heartaches. It is ironic that we prepare them to go, but when they do it’s like a slap in the face! I had 3 girls first that have all successfully made it – whew!…. But there is something different about the boy – pretty much young Man – flying the coop. My girls still feel close even tho totally busy with where their own lives have led them but the Boy, aaaaah – hard to let go of for some odd reason! It will really be quiet around here as we are the house he and his friends all land at most of the time and gather in our ‘pit’ in the basement as well. One thing’s for sure – the grocery bill will be cut in half and the house won’t have that ‘just baked cookie smell’ going on and that will be sad…. I’ve yet to have my "Springy" day in the garden – HOPEfully next week !

  5. Sunny says:

    Lovely, Rene’. The sharing of your feelings in your blog is always heartfelt and inspiring. Thank you.

  6. Amy says:

    What a wonderful posting. I loved what you said about your hesitation not slowing down the hands of time. I try to stop and take in the moments of my girls, 7 & 9, as they grow, but as hard as I try to slow it down, time is moving so quickly.

  7. What a really sweet post. It is so hard to see them go, and yet, they are often back before you know it….for the laundry, as you said or for some homemade chocolate chip cookies, or to just tell you about the latest fun they had. It’s all good!

  8. Oh Rene’ sometimes I feel like I am on a different planet…when I go into town I see gardens and flowering trees and then I return home & nothing! Today I awoke to a layer of frost on the ground…the past days we have had drizzle & hail…I sooooo want some sunshine,,,can I borrow some of yours? I’ll trade ya some wind..oh wait you have your own wind!lol!!!
    Hugz & I am off and running, got a million & one things to do and just one cup of Java to ‘geter done!’…
    Have a Wonderful, Wunderbar & Fantabulous day today & everyday.
    >^..^<

  9. Tonya says:

    Thank you for sharing this. As our oldest child (of 6) is sixteen now, my thoughts occasional think of what it will be like when he goes off to make a life of his own.

    I know what you mean about walking around the homestead and observing new life – such a gift.
    Warm wishes.

  10. kay says:

    It’s hard letting go of those kidlets.

    I’m so excited, I have a pumpkin seed popping through
    the soil in the greenhouse.

    Welcome spring, and by the way happy Easter!!

  11. Skye says:

    I loved your article..I’ve been waiting for spring and yet, yesterday saw a bit of snow falling in the morning..However, this morning I awoke to sun and 28 degrees..My strawberries are showing signs of life but alas, my raspberries are taking their time…I’m hoping to get outside and soon but like you, I do feel a bit of hesitant..Yet, I think once I head outside finally, I’ll feel all that springs gifts us…Thank you for your lovely blog words…They really touched my heart…Good luck in your preparation of the huge family event. Watching my 3 children one by one leave the nest made me a bit sad but then I have my beautiful grandchildren who warm my heart all the time..Many blessings and happy spring!!! best wishes, Skye

  12. Janice K. says:

    Yesterday, I hopped on my riding lawnmower and began the process of the ‘first mow’. This always makes me think how lucky that I am to live in a space of birdsong, sunshine, and garden space. I was riding along and feeling the happiness of that springtime day and then I thought of mom. My mom passed in December. This will be the first Easter that we won’t share, the first year of not planting together, caring for our charges, reaping our harvest. There I was, riding along and crying my tears, thinking that I was the only person feeling loss. Of course I know better! Thank you for the idea of planting something in memory of my mother and father. I truly believe that they are just over my shoulder, just out of sight..
    Hugs to you all,
    JK

  13. Nancy J says:

    As I was reading your blog, my mind traveled back when my own five children, 4 boys & 1 girl, were small. When each one went off to kindergarten, I cried. It never got easier for me. When each one moved out, either for school, the armed services or got married, I cried. Still, didn’get any easier. But out of all the times of separations, there are three that are the most painfull. My oldest son married to at the time seamed like a sweet girl. She has turned him against our whole family. I pray for restoration, even though it has been over 10 years. He has five children, we have never seen. Our middle son & his wife moved across the country and I was so afraid we would never see them again, either. After a year, they moved back to the area. But the most painfull was having our son, second oldest, go off to the war in Iraq. We are proud of him…but the pain of watching your child go to such a horrid place…the pain was undescibable. I thank God every day he made it home safely & now has two beautiful little girls…Life is hard but God is faithful.

  14. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Oh Rene: I feel your heart grieve as your children become men, ready to test the world. I did that and still do that as my two boys live in other states and no one is at home.I remember them dressed so spiffy for Easter and looking for eggs hidden in the yard. I remember their weddings when you give them over for wives to care for them. In a mother’s heart is a special place for those dear little ones we cared for, care for and just a little sadness creeps in until we realize they were only entrusted to our care. As we let go, the love deepens. Bonnie

  15. Nancy says:

    I have three children that have flown the nest and your post brought back the memories of the times that I was facing an empty nest. I cried…But the nest has quickly filled back up with my elderly Mother who came to live with me and then a son and 2 grandsons that came back after a difficult divorce because he/they needed help and time to heal. Life has a way of filling our hearts and homes with other things and that’s the way it’s suppose to be. Still I long for the times that all of my chicks were under my wing. Most of all, I hope they have fond memories of that time and want to their children to know the love and warmth of being home.

  16. carol branum says:

    hi Rene,I love spring,and am just starting to enjoy it also,it was 86 degrees outside today,but windy.I picked flowers for a boquet,it is bueatiful.My gathering of "Annies Project"farmgirls turned out great.One of my elderly neighbors made me a lamb cake to serve,it turned out great.She had her cast iron pan she said for 61 years.You can purchase them from Lemans.We also are shareing seeds,and haveing a ball gathering.I am happy,Have a nice Easter weekend,blessed be,Carol Branum,Lamar Mo.themofarmersdaughter@blogspot.com

  17. (sniff!) I have tears in my eyes as I read this! I only have two little birdies in my nest- and the oldest one is only a Sophmore- but I am already getting wistful thinking about him flying away. I know it will come too soon!

    I love the idea of a seed/plant swap! Do you have any tips for organizing one of my own?

    Many of our Prosser Farmgirls started saving seeds in the fall, and were happy to exchange them. But it would also work for gals who have purchased seeds or who might have plant starts to swap..

  18. Debbie says:

    Oh Rene’,
    What a wonderful post… spring does have it’s way of working it’s magic on us if we can let it… it’s a new season for you too with your son striking out on his own…
    We are in the teen years at our house… so the begnnings of them pushing and pulling have begun… so far so good, but I know our time will come when they must go and be on their own and it won’t be easy…It makes me so much more grateful for the time we have with now…
    Hang in there my friend, let Spring warm you inside and out!
    Deb~

  19. Kate Ferry says:

    I feel the same thing with my 19-month old moving quickly out of babyhood and into toddlerhood. It goes by so fast – pretty soon she will be a rambunctious teenager that is leaving the house.

    I really love the idea of a seed/plant swap. It’s a wonderful way to share favorite plants and stories on what grew well and what didn’t. Plus, I always have tons of seeds left over and could use a place to share them. I might have to get started on one of those around here on the west side of the mountains!

    http://www.sacredbee.wordpress.com

    Take care – and enjoy spring!

    -Kate

  20. Hi Rene`, I love the idea of a seed & plant swap. I’m gonna borrow the idea for our little chapter in Wyoming. My girlfriend already got it started when she dug up 4 cedar babies yesterday. Thank you for the idea!
    Shery Jespersen

  21. Valynne says:

    Well, as I have mentioned before Paul and I have no children of our own but I still got a lump in my throat reading this post and all of the heartfelt comments it inspired.

    My baby sister has been accepted to Cal Poly and will be a college freshman this time next year. We are twenty years apart and have lived thousands of miles away from each other since she was a toddler…but still I am wistful.

    Your post puts things into another perspective – Mom hasn’t said much (we don’t talk enough, really) about how all of this makes her feel – bet it is tough for her right now. I think it is time I gave her a call. I will be sure to mention your blog : )

  22. Peggy S. says:

    It is so wonderful to feel Spring in the Air and to see our favorite blooming trees and spring flowers in full glory. I truly enjoyed reading your post and some of your followers comments. I am a new Farm Sister but I am enjoying everyones Blogs and the Forums etc.

    As one of my City Bosses once said to me, upon seeing me wear a lot of denim to work…"You can take the girl out of the Country, but you can’t take the Country out of the girl!" Truer words were never spoken. Blessings to Each of You, Peggy

  23. Juile says:

    Rene~ Thanks for your musings. I also have seen my children leave the nest. I remember as I, the youngest of 5, left home , my mother was mourning that fact that she was no longer in direct communication with the "younger world". She stated that it kept her young. I guess that is one of the reasons that I enjoy working in our local high school. Even though my youngest of 3 has left home, I still get to stay in touch with the "younger world". I would encourage anyone that is feeling lost because of an empty nest, to adopt a local student that might be feeling lost due circumstances beyond their control and need an anchor to make it through. You’d be amazed at the difference you can make in their lives.

  24. Julie Watson says:

    A few months ago, the ladies of my church showed up for a surprise "kitchen shower". We were in the midst of remodeling our kitchen. What a blessing when they all came and brought food and gifts and we all sat and had a great time. I was reminded of that when I was reading the most recent MaryJane’s Farm magazine when someone was talking about having a garden party. Surprising someone when everyone shows up with bedding plants to make an "instant flower garden" for a friend. How fun!

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