I received my fathers day gift yesterday.
It was in the form of time spent with my younger son, Quinn, fixing the round baler. I'd split two belts at their join point, which is where they break apart. Not a big deal; a process to cut the ragged edge off, put a set of new belt splicing teeth into the belt splicing machine, clamp it on the end of the belt, put them together, off you go.
Could have, and have, done it myself many times. But I asked for help from Quinn, in order that it is more efficient, two sets of hands work better, and to show him how to do this task; it is amazing how fast these kids catch on - and then can take that task off your back - but - the true purpose was to 'be in proximity' to each other - to work together.
This time of year is always super busy. Most times of the year, it seems, is super busy. No time...for...what? Those simple moments of togetherness. You live your life like a checklist of things to do - when life is in the moments between, like yesterday.
We didn't have any amazing dialog, what we had was a comfort, a pleasure, both of us - in knowing we were getting something worthwhile done, and spending time together. None of my infamous impatience reared its head; and best yet, is, I recognized the moment, in the moment, for the true pleasure it was, the real life in between the tasks of life.
Quinn is the middle child. Middle children can often feel left out. In the middle, between the oldest and the youngest, each of which have their own special attentions. Quinn has some problems with his reading, even though he is really really smart. So he's got confidence issues, and I feel like I need to work with him on them. I make an extra effort in that way, like I try to make extra efforts that match the personalities and needs of the other two. Lilly, a young daughter, and Ian, an oldest son.
As busy as we are - we make time - in bursts - in shots - to connect in a real way. Some would say - ahem - and the kids - Lilly in particular - has mentioned just such a thing - is we had children to work on the farm. Well that is an old one, isn't it? Not like modern society where nothing is expected of the children but what....well, yes, we do need our children to work. And they don't mind, and some day, they will appreciate - and society will appreciate - what is under appreciated now. I can take future pleasure in it now, though - knowing that will be the case.
Ian, my oldest, son, what a great kid he is. I really enjoy working with him. I look forward to working for him one day. Shutting up, smiling, doing as he asks, watching him lead, remembering these days right now when roles were often, but not always, reversed. They are listening, absorbing, taking it all in. And how are we teaching, what we intend - and what we don't intend - the do as I say not as I do imperfections we each have.
Lilly, well, bossy little thing she is, she's going to tell ALL of us what to do one day. Not afraid to get in the thick of it, great sense of humor, easy friend maker, she too, will go far.
I feel grateful - blessed - that somewhere along the way I discovered the secret to a happy life. Being in the moment, visualizing the future you want - and then doing what you know you need to do to get there. I have so many jobs, so many roles, that I take so seriously, and think I work so hard at, yet on any given day, also believe I have so much more to do and I surely can work harder than....this.
In the "surely can work harder than....this..." category. I do not believe anyone...could beat...Julie in this. Mom, VP Sales, Chicken Leader, Mommy experience expert, wife, chief cleaner upper of messes, President of Everything that Matters which is Everything, despite what I might THINK I'm in charge of.....
I take great pleasure here, too, in the synchronicity we have, the synergy, the whole is definitely much greater than the parts, what either of us could accomplish separately. Not...destined....for...an...ordinary....life, nope, not us Trautmans, sorry, just not going to happen.
We spend a lot of time together all of us. I grab a kid to go do fence. Julie grabs a child to get ready to milk. Ian, Quinn, go feed the pigs. Every day we log the time - the time - the time - the time together - not cramming it into artificial quality moments, which can be purchased at any retailer of your choice. Time together. Ours happens to be in working, but what then, I would ask, is work. We like our work. We love our work.
Ask yourself. Your neighbor. Your friend. What was life like, oh so long ago, growing up on the farm. Was it good, like this? Of course it was. And hard, like life is, too. In different ways than today.
We have something very special here - the best of the old, with the best of the new, the best of the now. Same deal, so many other families, just like ours. Tomorrow's leaders - I guarantee you that.
Yet - our Dairy Industry - DATCP - our Governor - want us exterminated. Why no, they won't SAY that, that would be stupid. Better yet, they can convince themselves - and be that convincing, that great actor, too in believing something else. But Exterminating Wisconsin Family Farms is what they are doing. For their own good, in laziness, in convenience, they are thieves of the worst sort - killers of the worst sort - stealing the future from our and their children by exterminating just what you have heard here.
What we do here works. 1000 farms like ours? YES. A better world, guaranteed. Or 1000 more cows on a CAFO, 1000 less family farms, that's a good start, right their Rod? Jackie? Glenn? Jim? Mike? Cathleen? Will you recognize your own evil in your lifetime, or....
Yes folks, it does all tie together. We will NEVER give in, never give up. But how many farms will be gone forever, futures that could have gone a different way. I hope those of you that would exterminate us - I hope that is your hell - your everlasting hell - is to see over and over and over the families that could have been - the world that could have been - that you exterminated. That is the hell for you.
Quite a sour turn there, eh? Well the turn isn't for me, for us, you can tell that sure. I am the most blessed person there could be. I appreciate all, in the moment, and am joyful in the wonderment of everyday miracles, of simple life, really lived.
Happy fathers day!
Scott Trautman, PROUD Wisconsin Dairyman - as long as YOU - YOU - YOU dear reader will let me be -