The other day, we went down to watch the guys ship cattle. We watched the trucks drive by the house early in the morning, and Wacey couldn’t wiggle into his boots fast enough to go down to the pens.
We sat on a flatbed trailer and watched cow after cow get into the trucks while Buster napped in the car, and it was one of those mothering moments that was so bittersweet. Sweet because I love everyday things that become amazing through the eyes of a child and it was so fun to be sitting next to my oldest boy while he said “Woooow” over and over again, and bitter because oh, I miss working cattle. I miss being horseback, I miss being on the crew, I even miss getting up early and hating my life because it’s not even light out yet and I’m horseback and freezing. I miss the hustle and the use of my body for something other than mothering or intentional exercise, and I miss feeling like I’ve put in a full day of hard, productive work. I miss feeling part of something bigger than tiny humans and the world that can feel so small when it’s really best for all involved to have naptime at home every day.
But you know, this is a season (and “this is a season” has become my mothering mantra when things are tough). Mothering young children is a long-but-short season. I don’t like thinking of it as a sacrifice because that idea just doesn’t suit me or my experience of mothering because for me, motherhood has been a gift–a hard-won, shocking gift–that I never, ever expected. I did not grow up wishing to be a mother, although I wanted to be one…someday. I never, ever thought I would have two children before I was even thirty, much less adore having those two children.
(But, you know, I never thought I would be married and living on a ranch ever, much less before I was thirty, much less loving it, either, so this is God’s not-so-subtle way of saying “Hey, sis, take your plans and shove it. Mine are waaaaaay better.”)
Motherhood has changed me in so many good, good ways. I’m more patient, more empathetic, slower to anger, and quicker to laugh. I’m much more likely to lean on my devotional than get butt hurt over something I can’t change, and much more likely to see the little special moments and have gratitude for everyday life. Bert even says I’m late less, which is nothing short of a miracle, because chronic lateness runs in my family and kids require so much stuff to just get out the door.
Motherhood has also given me the perspective to sit on a flatbed trailer, watching my husband load cattle into a truck, and recognize that while I’m a tiny bit jealous, and that I miss it a lot, someday my children will be old enough to mind themselves while their daddy and I load cattle. Or maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll be horseback right along with us, and that would be the biggest treat of all.