letting go

my favoriteIn spring, and really all year and every day, the to do list for the farm is hefty and long.  And the reality is, of course, that life’s to do lists don’t ever come to an end, so part of coming to peace with things both here on the farm and in life is realizing that it is the work that is the thing more than an outcome or ending is.

Still, in spring, time sensitive matters arise in farming and it is easy to feel, more than at other times, that dreadful feeling of not having enough time to get them all done when they need to be done.  Fortunately, this spring we have been blessed with unseasonably dry and warm weather, giving us plenty of time for tasks we often find ourselves waiting and waiting to do just in time, or often late, because of the endless spring rain.  Most mornings this year when we sit down to decide what needs to be tended to for the day, we find we are usually able to take a deep relaxing breath, a sigh of relief, knowing that for this day on the calender we are right where we should be.  But there is always something to do, and as the days continue to propel us forward, we have to expand our frame of reference to not just soil prep and planting but to weeding and watering too.  Staying on top of things is always the goal.

And that is why it can be frustrating to go out to the field with two small helpers at my side and a grand plan to weed the gooseberries, and then in the end only manage to get one bush down the row before there are tears and cries for mama and I feel the inevitable split between duties, one of course calling me more.  If there is no redirection to be found, I must stop what I am doing and come.

And even though a part of my mind wonders and worries at that moment how I will ever manage my share of the farm work when things like this happen, I always aim to just let it go.  Sometimes, the need is for nothing, really, except that I am not giving my attention to something else.

What do they want to do?  Pick flowers, be held.

apple blossoms

And so we do this.  We look and listen at the apple blossoms, full of flowers and bees.  The smell is so heady and the sun is on my face, a warm boy’s skin next to mine, soft only like it is when they are small and nursing.  And all the while–singing, laughing, talking, skipping and dancing around–my only daughter makes us bouquets.  It is like heaven.


Any seasoned parent will tell you this, and it is really quite trite but like other ideas of its kind, it is equally true~slow down, pay attention.  They are only little once, they grow up so fast.  This same advice applies to life too.  Wake up, smell the apple blossoms. Because you see, they are already, less than a week later, spent and on their way to fruit.

It is hard to balance the pull towards productivity with the peace of mindfully doing nothing.  In that moment, in the field, I really wanted to finish a task on my to do list.  The perennial fruits are the worst for weeds and it is one of those things so much the worse if we don’t get to it before it is bad (and it is already bad, I didn’t want it to get worse).

But of course, the trade off was equally important to experience, just as it was more important for me to do.  Pausing, giving my children what they needed, lovingly letting go of that feeling of rushing worry–even letting go of the rewarding feeling of finishing an important task–wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

Later that night, quickly and peacefully after dinner and before bed, in the perfect light of a fading spring day, the baby and I managed to transplant two rows for the farmer.  A small task, so easy.  But manageable.  I never wanted more than to be a mother for so long, I was so fully immersed in the work of it, joyfully, and I didn’t ever worry, for so long, about getting much else done.  Those first three children came in a span of five years.  It was busy and full of them.  I suppose that helped.

But now I am learning the art of working with my children, and letting go is probably the most important tool I have for that.  I like to really finish the work at hand, whether it is weeding through an entire row, cleaning an entire room or finishing all the dishes, or writing until I get it all down or a natural break comes up.  That is not how it goes, though, with children around, and learning to stop mid task and just be there for my children is something I have to do over and over again.  It is good practice for living life mindfully. It is good to do always.  I am glad they are here to teach me this simple but hard truth.

And in the end, having these beautiful reminders of this lesson scattered all through my house, isn’t too bad, either.

also pretty

96 thoughts on “letting go

  1. Life is so short. We need to cherish our moments with our children and look at the beauty of being together and the things we do together. No matter what we do, farming or computer programming all hard occupations, we need to cherish what is important to us and being together as a family is the most important thing of it all no matter what type of fruit or flowers it bears. Right?

  2. I thought this was going to be a post about the beauty of nature, but instead I found a post about the beauty of children, and how they call us to pay attention to the small things we often overlook–an even more beautiful, and generally overlooked, topic. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    • Thank you, so much, for your comment and for sharing this post. Children are a blessing on so many levels, I really aim to be their champions in a world that sometimes belittles their importance. Thanks again!

  3. Reblogged this on Retrievals and commented:
    I generally don’t reblog the posts of others, but the author’s point near the end of this piece was so wise that it deserves wider attention. It is, essentially, another way of understanding the way in which children are “the supreme gift of marriage”: they prompt us to pay attention to small, beautiful things that we would have overlooked otherwise.

  4. Damn that Work Ethic that says what productive is, and carries shame beyond problem solving adjustment to valid schedules, like plants that do not wait for anyone–oh, yes they do, it just depends on our expectations.

    As mine are older, I am having repeated….”my shift is done! &(#^” moments. Mine have some special needs that can get lost in simply not wishing to be responsible. I’m tired. There have been a lot of apples flower and grow and gone into stomachs. I WANT MY TURN TO NOTICE MY OWN STUFF!!

    • OOPS i hit enter or something! I think this is a thing that mom-type people have to learn to do, and adjust adjust and adjust, without giving too much and feeling like a robot. Thanks for the blog!

  5. Mindfulness and living in the moment have been my aims for a while now and yet just recently by concentrating on my to-do-list I’ve lost my path.
    Thanks for the reminder, well written and congrats on freshly pressed

    • As another commenter put it, and I think captured it so well–“to let go of expectation and just be present to what is – let life show me the priorities moment by moment”. The to-do-list aims to trump the moment if we aren’t careful. They are, of course, necessary as guides, but they can be slave drivers too. I’m glad this resonated with you! Mindfulness is one of the simplest but most challenging goals, but worthy of all our attention (hah!). Have a beautiful day!

  6. a flower is most beautiful when you get far enough from it so that everyone can enjoy its beauty. Holding it too hard, might even hurt the petals! Lovely entry, and lovely you.

  7. I love your message, or at least the one I pulled out of it….flowers like children are so delicate and bloom so fast. All we can do is enjoy them, but you can’t just sit there and pay attention to only them all day. Finding the balance isn’t easy. Love it, you got my wheels turning, thanks!

    • Balance is the key, even when it sometimes seems like the most elusive word at times. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. priorities…they change from time to time. I enjoyed this very much! It is our opportunity, in those little breaks, to teach our children of their importance and to love life.

    • Yes, those small breaks we take now, with them, will hopefully stay with them for a lifetime. Thank you for taking the time to comment, cheers!

  9. I was yanking out dandelions this afternoon, and had the same experience exactly, but add in a few friends of the kids, and five kids were needing/wanting/laughing/talking. I wouldn’t trade it, but it’s chaotic. This one was spraying the others with a hose, that one hurt herself, this got out the saw and wanted to use it and the others wanted to run and run. Time goes by so fast, but I did yank a lot of dandelion, root and all.

  10. Thanks. What you’re saying is really powerful. The key to joy in this life, as far as I’m concerned. Following you. John

    • It is the key, and yet as humans, it can be so challenging too. Simple, but hard. Thank you fir your comment and for following along. Cheers!

  11. Just beautiful and just what this old mom of 3 adult children needs reminding of. Being mindful of all the wonder around me without being concerned with not getting things done. Have a wonderful growing season, with both your farm and your children. Namaste.

  12. Beautiful post. The tyranny of ‘to-do’ and children as teachers. A great reminder, which I’ll now take into my day, to let go of expectation and just be present to what is – let life show me the priorities moment by moment. Thanks for sharing your love and wisdom.

    • “to let go of expectation and just be present to what is – let life show me the priorities moment by moment”, you put it just right! Thank you!

  13. In moments like this where your children make you pause and smile I often wished I could capture it on film. I would love when I loose perspective to look at this film and remind myself. I am so afraid that I will not remember those little moments that made my heart swell so much I thought it would burst from my chest. Life occupies your brain with so much will there be space for those micro memories? I hope so! Lovely read.

  14. Thank you for such a thought provoking reminder. As a mother of three I am well aware of the constant interruptions. I feel very penitent after reading your post…thinking back to all those times when I ‘had’ to finish what I was doing before going to their aid.
    I have never reposted before…but have today.

    You have a new follower.

    • Thank you for sharing! But please, don’t feel too penitent–mothering is by far the most challenging work in the world! It is so easy to be hard on ourselves when we are all so human. Our work has needed us at certain times where the option to stop and smell the cherry blossoms wasn’t an option either, so it is a give and take. When we can balance the two works–a fairly elusive idea it sometimes seems–I think that everyone’s needs do get met. And so much depends on how old they are too! Mine are growing up, but I still have one baby who is often happy to play with his brothers and sister, but often still just needs his mama, so I try to make that time for him, remembering how fast his siblings have moved past that stage. Hugs!

  15. This post is awWonderful reminder for all of us to trust that all that needs doing is getting done. Thank you for sharing so authentically. May the growing season be filled with more exploration, noticing and memories!

    • Thank you for your kind words! I love how you put it, “that all that needs doing is getting done.” Beautiful!

    • Thank you for your kind comment and for sharing! I saw that you had a tough day with your little’s yesterday, and I saw how little your two were. I wanted to say that more often than not, at that age, I was getting nothing done, and that now, with mine mostly so much older and just one little one who likes to tag along with the big kids, I am mostly able to do ever so many things on my to do list. It is easier to see the call to stop and be with them as the blessing it is when there is more time for personal respite, so know that you are in the thick of the hardest part of your “work” as mother, but it really does go by faster than you can imagine (I sometimes hate to be the one saying this to any mother of young children, but it is so true!), and that you are doing a good job!!! Cheers!

  16. Reblogged this on Mommy in Bonlee and commented:
    I had a tough day with Charlie and Maddie today. I just could not seem to satisfy them no matter what I did! After reading this I realize that I should have just stopped the unimportant things I was trying to do and spent some time with them. I have never reblogged before but thought you would all enjoy this beautiful reminder to enjoy the people around you.

  17. hello there! I just wanted to thank you for this beautifully written reminder. I have three sons, and have never in their little lives worked “full time” until going into real estate. The same balance you described so well is exactly what I’ve struggled with most throughout this transition; the “mom guilt” factor, and then the “work guilt” factor. . . I just wanted to thank you for articulating so perfectly how it feels when you make the right decision and allow yourself those special moments. I will absolutely be sharing! Enjoy your day 🙂

    • Thank you! It is challenging and the balance seems fairly elusive, but I think it achieved in those moments we take with our children when we can, so that they have them in reserve for the moments when we truly can’t because of work, if that makes any sense 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  18. Reblogged this on The Cozy Home Enthusiest and commented:
    I spent my day yesterday running from listing, to appointment, to listing ~ children in tow as it was a Saturday and my hubby had less child-friendly work to be done in his own office. It made me begin to wonder if being with me was a small reward for the larger sacrifice of losing a precious weekend day to allow me my real estate career. I came to WordPress this morning prepared to explore my on going struggle between business and family. . . and instead found everything I’d hoped to say right here. So read this, and enjoy ❤

    • Thank you so much. Let me think about the award. I really, truly, and deeply appreciate it, but I need to decide if I can follow through properly, if you know what I mean 🙂 Cheers to you!

  19. Beautifully written, you have a wonderful eloquence. Mindfulness is something I struggle with and this touched me exactly where I was in need today. Thank you.

    • Oh, thank you so! Mindfulness is an ever worthy goal, as challenging as it is when we are all so human. I am so glad this touched you, together we are all stronger in our resolves than alone. Hugs!

    • Thank you! I do think that life on this farm is rich in lessons and metaphors, as are my children, great teachers. I am happy to have a place to write about it all. Cheers!

  20. No small children here anymore, but the same lesson can be applied to spending time with aging parents, stopping to play with the neighbor children who are so needy of attention, and just being mindful enough to notice when someone else needs a touch of kindness. Thank you for your beautiful post.

    • That is so true; mindfulness is important at any time, and balancing our noticing of others needs with our own drive to complete and fulfill our own needs is kind of the essential human work I think. Thank you!

  21. What a beautiful post! I was raised on a farm so I always enjoy stories that involve that life as it takes me back to my simple childhood. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you! I see my children loving growing up out here. I too lived on a farm for part of my childhood, and although we didn’t farm it, I absolutely loved the feeling of owning the world, so much space to explore and play in. It is a great feeling in your youth. I’m happy to be out here again, with land surrounding me. Cheers!

  22. Pingback: this rewarding life | GrowingWildFarm

    • So true. After my parents both passed away, this realization was made only stronger. It is funny how wrapped up in other things we can get, though, huh? Here’s to remembering often. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

    • Children are some of the best teachers aren’t they? Life, too; endless lessons available for the taking. Thank you for your kind comment!

  23. I face the same tearing of loyalties (although the truest always shines through and, like you, I end up not choring but cuddling in the warm sun or reading that book and so on) but it is such a true statement that we need to slow down and live life completely with the little ones. I think there is an element in us of the child and if it was not nourished in this way when we were young, we can heal that when we are parenting by nurturing ourselves as we nuture our children. I call my kids One Foot Guru and Two Foot Guru for this reason – they teach me so much, every day.
    I love your blog and your writing – so glad you were FP’d 🙂 Blessings, Charlotte

    • Charlotte, I love how you put that, about our inner child. Even, perhaps, if we were more naturally like that as children, to continue to aim for presence of mind, in all moments, is part of what our soul longs for us to do. It isn’t always easy, but it does nourish us. I have been trying to take it both ways. Trying to be peaceful and mindful while I am working too, bringing love into my actions of folding the laundry and washing the dishes. Children are so good at this, they are absorbed in the moment! Granted, we grow up and learn to multi-task for a reason, but as you said, we must nourish this still part of us too. Thanks you so much for your kind and sweet comment!

  24. Actually one of my dream is also to live in a peaceful farm just like what you describe in your blog. But you see, I have this condition that keeps me going to the urban life.I cant live without the amenities of the civilized city. Yes, I agree there is peace in the countryside and I want it once I’ll succeed with my own dreams.

    One of the best posts I have read in wordpress.

    • Thank you so much.

      I think that there is peace to be found in both the city and the country, depending on who you are. I have some dear friends who would be miserable out here on this farm…they thrive in the city. I, on the other hand, tried one year of city living and was at my wits end 🙂 And sometimes, we aren’t sure which is right for us, but I think we can be happy anywhere, regardless of the outer landscape, if you know what I mean. Happiness seems more reliant on our inner landscape, I think. Following your dreams is a big part of that, good for you! Thanks again!

  25. Ah you are a woman after my own heart. Though I don’t have children to remind me to be mindful, but the cows help! Lovely post and beautiful gorgeous photographs. I just want to touch it all. I’d definitely like to recruit you for my recently launched International Day of Inefficiency – I think we are a band of about 15 now 🙂

    • The farming life does lend itself to this, so true! I am sure I am ripe for this campaign…I have many,many days of supreme inefficiency over here 🙂 Thanks so much!

  26. it is neat to read something which wraps up, sums up, weaves, so much so well of several things i’ve been thinking about recently.
    “i will never “get it all done”.”
    arjuna was told not to identify with the fruits of his actions, but it was still very important to act.
    the vagaries of the weather make us all have to hop, more than we’d planned.

    • I write to try to remind myself of these lessons, since the beating of the world’s drum often “feels” hard to keep up with, even though keeping up isn’t ever the goal and that feeling of getting it all done is an illusion, it is true! It is hard, though, to stay in the moment and it is a balance, because as you mention, we do have to “do” as well as “be” while we are here. I tend to think balance is elusive, but it is the key and maybe just bringing our awareness to that goal over and over again is enough 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Spring can quickly take on the feeling of “busy” and maybe, rightly so, if we keep that slow, restful feeling of winter tucked into our hearts as a reminder of why we are busy now, giving that busy feeling a meaning instead of making it a lifestyle. Cheers!!

  27. Pingback: moving forward in a circle | GrowingWildFarm

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