It’s the same story every year. He’s pacing the stalls waiting for a calf to arrive, trying to get organized in time and I’m psyching myself up for it. It will be all right I say, I can do it I say. It’s all positive. All good.
And they’re off.
I think as the first cow was calving, my four year asked me to fly the biscuit into his mouth like it were a Scooby snack. At breakfast, they’re crazy, bedtime, crackers. They’ve been on Daddy time for the Winter and now it’s back to their drill instructor.
Cadets, about March. Stop speaking with your mouth full. Look lively. Brush your teeth. But Daddy says….. Am I Daddy? Put on your pajamas, no, not whilst wrestling. No wrestling. Put your brother down, and the other one. Daddy reads us two books. Still not Daddy. Another cow bellows behind in the yard. In twenty-four hours, there have been five, yes five, new arrivals. They miss Daddy. We miss Daddy. I lay the baby down to sleep. And the older boys creep into bed, calm I think, so as not to wake him up. They always wake him up, not tonight. Where is Daddy? While you’re asleep, he’ll be in to give you your kisses but you have to go to sleep now.
He arrives in the door, happy but a bit worn out from the day. A storm rages outside. He drags himself up the stairs for the night-nights two hours into their sleep. The tea is drawing. Two mugs. Isn’t it great? We both laugh and I have to tap his shoulder to wake him up to drink his tea. He’ll have to go check the cows again before bedtime, the final check. I go to bed, I may or not see him depending on things outside. If I wake in the morning and he’s there, it’s a bonus. There’s no need for an alarm as I have three boys climbing over me in the morning looking for breakfast. It starts again. Where’s Daddy?
This is more or less the story for dairy farming families throughout the country. A nod to the farmer outside in the pouring rain with the cows, and another to herself holding the fort.
Springtime is most definitely here. Puppy power.