Now that you have the theme song from “Frozen” in your head, I can start my post. My brother, his wife and their two sons visited this weekend. Our kids have a great time playing (aka getting into trouble) together. My brother is a dairy farmer and his wife grew up on a hog farm, so they are no strangers to farm life. We had a conversation this weekend about how to let our kids explore the farm without mom and dad looking over their shoulder. In other words, letting go, letting go…there, the song is in your head again! My husband, myself and my brother and sister-in-law all have great memories of playing on the farm, especially with cousins. We would build hay forts, make hideouts from straw bales, explore the woods…oh we had so much fun!
Now as parents, however, everything seems more dangerous. We talked about how amazing it was that our parents trusted us enough to let us test our limits. My dad is especially known for being a safety-man. (Once when my younger brother wanted to spend the night in the barn just for fun, my dad sent him out to the barn with a smoke detector! For real. And he always made sure I had a flashlight when I spent the night in a hotel just in case there was a fire.) How did my dad ever survive us exploring the farm as kids?
When I became a parent I suddenly saw everything on the farm as dangerous! I’m not being overly-cautious. I truly not a worry-wart, but farming is ranked as one of the most hazardous industries. I unfortunately know of too many people who have been injured or killed due to farming accidents. We try to teach our kids things such as “never approach a moving tractor, never go into the cow pen alone, stay away from cows that just had calves, never play in grain wagons filled with corn….”
So this weekend when the kids asked if they could go, on their own, to see the cows, we said yes. But I was still nervous. Kids make bad choices. They are kids. So after some time my sister-in-law and I went to check on them. They were fine. Shocker. They were just throwing rocks on a dead rat they found. No big deal. No big deal until my daughter wanted to pick up the rat and bring it home. No!
Every parent has to experience this “letting go” phase. Whether it is the first day of kindergarten, or when they start driving on their own, or when they move off to college, letting go can be tough. We are trying to let go the best we can, but be smart about it at the same time. This parenting thing is the best thing I have ever done, but the most difficult too.
Here are some pictures from our weekend. I know you will be disappointed to know I didn’t get a picture of that dead rat.