Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
In our family, late summer/early fall is simply one of the best times of the year. Most years, the corn and soybeans have canopied, and we’ve parked the cultivator. This fall seems to be the exception since the weed zapper is still electrocuting weeds.
Fair is done and our stomachs have started to recover from Italian sausages. Baked potatoes. Lemonade shake-ups. Ice cream. Firemen’s donuts. And cheese curds.
Our journey to Illinois State Fair is complete and our blisters have started to heal. Our blue-eyed girl’s bread didn’t win grand champion, but she ate her way through the fair. Just like her dad.
Last but certainly not least, we’ve finished back-to-school shopping. Notebooks. Four thousand pencils. Play dough. And glue sticks have been purchased, labeled and packed into backpacks.
Unlike prior years, the big little boy with no official eye color is in full-day curriculum-based kindergarten. Not half-day play-based preschool. Candidly, I’ve dreaded this day since he started preschool. Not because he’s my youngest. Only son. Or because I want him to stay young. But because of the nightmare of getting him to school each morning. Up until this point he’s spent at least two days a week at our farm.
He’s a busy boy. He has farming to do. And he does not have time for such silly little things as school. We anticipated fights. Temper tantrums. And meltdowns. The first day arrived and we had excitement. Laughing. A full out sprint to the bus stop. And a look of utter annoyance that we weren’t sprinting behind him.
Our big little boy with no official eye color is my farmer’s mini me. They’re both mechanical. Analytical. Rational. And too busy for school. In college my farmer skipped his final semester. That was the spring he built his first corn planter. He’d complete the homework and rope someone into turning it in for him but wouldn’t show up to class unless he had an exam. I still remember the expression on his advanced farm accounting professor’s face when my farmer graduated magna cum laude.
I on the other hand, went to every class. Read every assignment. And completed every extra credit assignment I could get my hands on. No one was surprised when I graduated from both undergrad and graduate school with honors. Our blue-eyed girl who quietly entered the world one hot Father’s Day is my mini-me. She reads every book. Finishes every assignment. Corrects every test. And brings home straight A pluses.
We realize that every day won’t be like the first day of school. That he won’t sprint to the bus stop every morning. And that he might not be excited each and every day. But we’re going to enjoy it while we can. The fact is, he’s simply too busy farming for school.