Sometimes during the hustle and bustle of our chaotic homestead life, I catch myself silently watching Prairie Girl.
Amidst the zipping up of tiny coats, bracing against the wind, feeding hay, and filling water buckets, I remember…
I remember a small girl who would have loved nothing more than to have horses outside her bedroom window. And a wheelbarrow full of manure to push. And eggs to collect.
That girl was me.
I don’t know of many little girls whose primary dreams in life involved barns and land instead of Barbie houses and tiaras, but mine did.
You see, I didn’t grow up on a farm. I grew up in a little neighborhood on a tiny lot. But ever since I can remember, there was something deep inside of me that yearned for the country. I can’t explain it, but it grew from a childhood wish to an all-consuming passion. That passion caused me to leave home at the tender age of 18 and move 1200 miles away to the wide open spaces of Wyoming so I could ride horses. And that I did.
My love for horsemanship and the rural way of life gradually blossomed into my homesteading lifestyle, which fulfills my inner longings so thoroughly that I can hardly explain it.
It was scary to move so far from the safety of home and parents at such a young age, but I know it was God’s plan for me from the very beginning. And it has felt deliciously right—since day one.
My thoughts drift back to Prairie Girl as I watch her boss her goats…
People often ask me with raised eyebrows, “What are you going to do if your kids hate country life and want to move to the city as soon as they turn 18?”
What IF her dreams DO take her far from our simple life to the land of asphalt, high-rises, and noisy streets?
I’ve thought long and hard about these questions. I would never want to discourage my children’s passions, especially since I personally have experienced the satisfaction of having a dream fulfilled. I will encourage her in whatever goals she chooses to pursue, even if they are vastly different from my own.
I don’t know where Prairie Girl’s desires will take her. But I know that regardless of where she ends up, she will always carry the skills she has learned from growing up on a farm.
She’ll be strong– both inside and out– from fixing fence, stacking hay bales, and shoveling manure.
She’ll be confident and assertive from handling livestock, riding horses, and milking the cow.
She’ll be capable from learning to create butter from fresh cream, shoot a gun, make yeast bread rise, and drive a tractor.
She’ll be conscious of the natural rhythms of life from planting seeds, watching baby calves being born, and helping to butcher meat animals.
And she’ll be brave from having experienced rattlesnakes and blizzards and powerful prairie thunderstorms.
So even if she leaves the farm someday and finds herself as a successful career woman wearing high heels and business suits instead of muck boots and Carhartts like her mama, the life skills and lessons she’s learned from the homestead will be something she can carry with her for her entire life.
But then my thoughts transport me back to the present and I mention to her that we still need to collect eggs to finish out the morning’s chores. Her eyes light up and she claps her little hands as she bounces with excitement.
And I have a sneaking suspicion that farm life might just be her heart’s desire too.
Just like that other little girl… Not so long ago.
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