Monthly Archives: March 2013

Nailing jello to a tree

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOver the years, many difficult things have been compared with nailing jello to a tree.  I’m going to throw in my two cents and add to that list.  Raising teenagers is like nailing jello to a tree.  The same kid that yesterday sat on my lap and told me that I was the “best mom EVER” is a completely different kid today with her eyes spearing me with daggers.  Throw in the fact that we are a blended family with mine, his, and ours, and the situation becomes even more convoluted.  Together our family consists of children from toddler to adult.  Our adult child whom I once threatened with the fact that I had brought him into this world and I could dang sure take him out of it, now is our easiest child.  How did this happen??

When we were starting over with “ours” we discussed the fact that parenting would be so much easier when both parents actually wanted to be parents and had common spiritual beliefs, work ethics, goals, morals, etc.  Believe me–while this sure does help, NOTHING makes parenting easy.  My older children’s father worked away from home and his job moved him from place-to-place every few months for a new project.  When he was home, he wasn’t actually home but instead hanging out with friends, fishing, hunting.  I was basically the sole parent, unless you count his input on things like “Well I told him he could go.  I went to the senior party when I was a freshman?” or “I don’t see anything wrong with his girlfriend hanging out in his room.  Its not like they are doing anything.”   At the complete other end of the spectrum is my husband, and our brood is so blessed to have him as a father.  Benjamin Franklin once said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”   Such is the life of our ranch children.

My oldest is the only one of our children (his, mine, ours) that wasn’t blessed to be a ranch child– at least on our ranch.  He was fortunate in that most of his friends were ranch kids, we live in a ranch community, and when I hear “it takes a village” I know that this definitely applies to him.  He was somewhere every weekend helping, and lots of weeknight evenings, too, after school and sports practice.  He has the ranch kid work ethic, the ranch kid soft heart, the ranch kid desire to help and make a difference, and the ranch kid ability to visit with anyone about anything.  What a great kid he turned out to be.  This is the same kid that I prayed every day would be a responsible, productive adult.  There were many days in his teenage years that I wasn’t so sure this could or would happen.  The rest of our kids– his, mine and ours, all have been blessed getting to grow up as ranch kids.  I know they don’t appreciate all the blessings they have and don’t always believe us that hard work is good for the soul, but am sure one day that they will.

The teenagers in our home are pretty sure that they have the meanest parents around.  We’re good with this.  We are not their friends; we are their parents.  It doesn’t phase us in the least to hear that a friend’s mom is letting her daughter go to the party, or to the hills shopping, or to the movie, or…      Truthfully, our kids don’t say this much anymore– it gets them no where.  Do we make mistakes?? Absolutely– by the truckload.  Do we sometimes feel that we are too hard on our kids??  Often!  But do we love them to the moon and back and make all our decisions based on what we feel is in their best interest?  You know it!  And on the cost of gas, tires, time on the road, late nights, etc.  It all goes into our decision making process.   But the best part of our decision making process as parents is the fact that we do it together; we have each other’s back.  We each know without a doubt that the other spouse will support  the decision 100%.  I don’t know if it gets much better than that.  I love that he is holding the nails while I’m trying to hammer them in to hold that jello to the tree.  And I love that while our trees are few and far between, we are surrounded by God’s beauty with nothing hindering our view.  I love being just a ranch wife!

Hello world!

cropped-IMG_82461.jpgA very unintelligent woman once said to one of my daughters, “Don’t give up on your dreams.  You need to get a real job.  You are way too special to be just a ranch wife!”  Just a ranch wife?  My mom was a ranch wife; my mother-in-law is a ranch wife.  These two women are incredible.  They are hard-working, giving, compassionate, caring, spiritual, and loving individuals.  Not to mention, they are both incredible cooks, caretakers of their land and families, and amazing mothers and grandmothers!  Based on these two alone, I would be honored if my daughters were “just ranch wives!”  However, I know entire communities of these kind of women.  Women who put in full days working outside caring for the animals and crops, along with cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, caring for children, volunteering, being the chauffeur for their kids, attending football/basketball/volleyball/rodeos and all other activities in which their children take part, caring for their friends and neighbors in need… and the list goes on and on.  Just a ranch wife?

It amazes me that people think being a ranch wife is a lowly thing.  It amazes me even more that being a rancher or ranch wife could be considered not having a real job.  Every rancher, ranch wife, and children who grow up on a ranch know that ranching isn’t a job that consists of 40-hour work weeks.  Ranching isn’t a job that has banker’s hours.  Ranching isn’t a job that gets snow days or 2-week paid vacations.  Ranching isn’t a job that gets sick days.   And ranching definitely isn’t a job for the weak!  We start calving in the early spring on our ranch.  This means every-two-hour checks on the heifers/cows 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  No 40-hour work weeks here!  We are out there in the wind, rain, snow, sleet– all of which we have had over the last month.  One evening it was raining, lightning, thundering, blowing, and starting to snow all at once– and in February!  We know this personally; we were out in it putting a heifer in the barn that was starting to calve.  No weak hearts here.

I haven’t always been a ranch wife.  I’m a bookkeeper by trade– a position that I still hold, however, I now work from home.  I have several clients and work on their books at home and then update their in-office bookkeeping records periodically.  I’m also do medical transcription, again from home.  While I grew up in an agricultural community and have spent many hours on a horse, in a tractor seat, or wrestling calves, this was in my youth.  My path lead me away from agriculture and instead into accounting.  After many years I wanted to come home.  Turned out to be the best decision I ever made.  I married the “perfect man” (is there such a thing??) and am now a ranch wife.   I wouldn’t change anything.   God Bless the broken road…

My strengths are many.  I know how to start over.  I know how to let things go in order to start over.  And my greatest strengths– multitasking and time management– both of which are learned arts!  Many things have made my eyes leak and my heart smile over the years– all of which have made me who I am today.  I’m a work in progress, no doubt, but I love the progress and I definitely love being “just a ranch wife.”