Milestones on a Farm

Some parents keep track of their children’s “firsts”. The milestones of their first soccer tournament, successful week at sleep-away camp, or getting a good report card. 

Here on our farm I think about the first time James drove the red 1-ton truck, when he tedded his first 50 acre field, when he went turkey hunting up on the backside of Putney Mountain, slaughtered his first chicken at Chip and Carlene’s house, or gathered sap all by himself.

Sometimes I feel badly that James’ firsts are so different than other kids. It’s hard to compare which might be more useful in the long run, or which will serve society better. I get self-conscious and never feel like I’ve done enough as a mom because our day is so vastly different than if he went to public school.

The era where my parenting might have been normal has passed us by. It’s strange to people that we spend so much time together working. Some have told me they think it’s careless and reckless to give him so much responsibility and we should have him socialized according to our societal norms.

Once I block out the shame and worry these critiques bring me, I remember that it’s just this gut feeling when I’m quiet that tells me this is an ok path to walk.

The years of progressive education I was given led me to find a way to “learn by doing” and blaze our own trail to define what our values are and purpose might be. 

Seeing his initiative last night when we were hanging buckets was a flicker of nourishment. He’s figured out a way to efficiently gather sap this weekend in the snow with a modified trailer. He’s building an arch with his dad to make syrup. Knowing his economic enthusiasm it’s likely he’s already got the yet-to-be-made syrup pre-sold to tourists. 

Somedays I really worry about him and his future, but today I think I’ll skip it.