I haven’t had the chance to write for a couple days, so a quick catch-up:
Beau had to ride feedlot pens, checking the calves for health, so the kids and I headed to church in Hysham without him (but with two young friends). After church we had play practice with a Sunday School troop numbering 19, ranging in from ages 22 months to 11. We have two big Christmas play performances coming up this Sunday! Asher is playing the part of “Deacon Greg,” Emi is Mary, Marsi is a shepherd, Muggins a wiseman, and I am the director of the play (because apparently, as my mom always likes to point out, I am a glutton for punishment. But actually we’re working with a great bunch of kids, with lots of other moms and grandmas pitching in to help with crowd management, costumes, backdrops, and of course snacks, and in my mind an annual Christmas play just ought to be part of childhood, so that’s why I decided it was a project worth squeezing into our already-full schedule).
Continuing the march to finish fall works before Christmas, Beau and crew headed to Butte Camp. They were gone all day and pregged 250 cows.
Since I had the day off from cooking lunch here at ranch headquarters, the kids and I headed for Miles City. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas for 9-year-old Asher if he and I didn’t do some very important gift-getting at the dollar store. His daily queries concerning our shopping trip and my look at the calendar convinced me that Monday was our last available day to do this thing, so off we went.
In Miles City, as soon as their schools let out, my nephew and niece picked up the three little kids and babysat them for the afternoon (Hurray for nephews and nieces! Hurray that Nephew Nate has a driver’s license!). Reveling in the no-siblings quiet, Asher and I hit the dollar store, each with our own cart and our own top-secret agendas. Next we hit Walmart without much of a list and just enjoyed wandering around and spending rare one-on-one time together. I had spent early Monday morning one-click-ordering Christmas gifts off of Amazon and while in Walmart the idea hit me: What if I didn’t have to shop in town again before Christmas? It was about 8 p.m. by then, December 16. I quickly ran through my gift lifts in my mind, and then the menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I reminded myself of three mantras:
Enough is enough.
Keep is simple, stupid.
Sometimes you just have to let the rough end drag.
So we made a final flying trip around Walmart before heading home, and now I am determined I don’t have to go to town again before Christmas! I am finding a certain sense of relief in reminding myself that I have drawn a line and I’m going to stick to it.
Beau and crew headed to the VX northeast of Ingomar. They weaned 350 calves and shipped them to headquarters here, then ran the cows through the chute for the vet to preg.
Here at home I had figured on two or three for lunch, but as it turned out the day went helter-skelter and in the end it was just my dad who stopped by for coffee as the kids and I ate our shepherd’s pie. Just as well, though, because the kids and I enjoyed a big day of wrapping up treasures. Ah, kids. They have stretched my rubber band tolerance for imperfection past the point of discomfort to the no-good-for-holding-things-together-anymore point.
But, I am sure, that only means I am growing in my humanness.
Beau is off to Horse Camp to preg cows with the camp cowboys, I will be feeding lunch to the processing crew (meatballs with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes — an old German favorite), and the kids and I have play practice at six.
The countdown continues!
© Tami Blake