Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I remember talking to my then-eight-year-old daughter when we found out we were moving here. She didn't seem to want to leave our city anymore than I did. We are quite resistant to change, me and this girl of mine. We were walking down a busy street after her ballet class... passing the same shops and some of the same people we had since she was five. Already the streets and views around us seemed to be receding from my reality. They were, even then, a bit out of reach and our move was still several months away. Later we sat in her room, crossed legged on her bed, talking about what all of these changes would mean for us. Behind her I could see the city lights and the ocean beyond. I remember wondering if this wise little creature could see through the smile I was faking.

We sat there, allowing ourselves to look ahead... to a house with a big yard, to less noise,  to less traffic, to nature outside our door instead of the gorgeous botanical garden we drove to every weekend. We let ourselves imagine a life in the country and as it took shape we found ourselves getting a bit more excited. A new adventure. We would plant a garden, tend flowers, keep chickens. I saw Green Gables, she saw Little House...we each put on the appropriate literary character to prepare for this new chapter.

It was the thought of keeping chickens that was the turning point. The thought of our own hens, of a tiny homestead, that helped us look forward more than we were looking back. We kept that excitement as we unpacked, as we made changes to this house and as we waited to see how things would settle.  During that time we also discovered the coyotes that seem to roam practically at our door and the hawks that swoop low and fly off with a rabbit from the fields around us... and the oppressive heat to which none of us seems able to acclimate. My mama heart became a bit heavy... and more than a little confused. And oh, the guilt. The guilt of thinking I promised something I was now wavering on. That was on my very strict "I'll never do that when I'm a parent" list and now here I am...not only wavering but balking, delaying and avoiding.

Then last week I read this post by SouleMama. Something became clear somehow after reading her words. She mentioned feeling guilt with each attack on their flock and how it made her worry about the effect on her children. "Yes, exactly," I thought, "you understand!" Of course, loss and death are a part of life on a farm and children are very resilient. I remember from my own childhood in the country  that this is all just a part of life.

But something else became clear, something more at the heart of this. Something that doesn't necessarily lessen my guilt but does help me put things back in perspective.

We don't live on a farm.

We don't have season after season to watch the cycles of life that come with a lifestyle closer to the land. If we kept chickens they would have been pets and the inevitable loss of one or all of those pets would be quite devastating to my sensitive little family. We wouldn't have a good year to balance a bad year. We would have a memory heightened by the frame of what will actually only be a short time here.

So, we've stepped back from our initial plans as we reevaluate what is important to us. I'm trying, very hard, to focus on what is constant and good in our lives and remember to appreciate it. Because really, there is so much. Three little faces most of all.

We're letting go of expectations, especially the most unrealistic ones. And maybe, just maybe, I can let go of some of this guilt.


  1. Perfect! I adore this little "farm" in your picture... Remind me again where you order your toys??? I LOVE them!!! I need to add some to our collection. :) And remember that lovely verse about "no condemnation for those in Christ"... That word "expectations" keeps popping up for me... learning to manage them properly in my commitments to others and let go of them at times myself... MAJOR growing up going on over there. What an incredibly valuable life lesson - wow... I'll be pondering this post for a while! Really pertinent! Thanks!!!

  2. Grace, most of the animals in this picture are Schleich. The bunny is Kinderkram. And the trees are Holztiger. And yes, lots of pondering....