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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

The Farmers Field: Happiness is

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Spring is full of things to do. As a parent with children, this to-do list seems to never end – school concerts, chaperoning field trips, sports, banquets, contests and conventions, graduations and social gatherings.  

For those of us in the Cowboy State, spring is extra special for us, because most years, it’s the first time since October we’ve been able to leave the house without a parka, snow boots and multiple layers of underclothes.  

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll even encounter a day allowing us to wear a t-shirt without a coat.  

As a farmer, it seems there are never enough hours in a day. Mother Nature waits on no one, and every field needs attention, all at the same time. When spring hits at our farm, it seems no matter how well we prepped and planned over the winter, we always run short on time.  

Our days are filled with field work, playing mechanic, planting, shipping grain, chasing repairs, delivering fuel, shuffling equipment from location to location, yard work – we have over 30 structures on over 10 acres which need to be maintained – and an endless sea of paperwork I need to keep up with in my office. And that’s all to just scratch the surface.  

Each of our family members, as well as our employees, all play an important role.

Usually, this time of year, I manage things tightly to make sure we are all being as efficient as possible, both on the farm and in our family. For those of us who are farmers, we understand the pressure to get things done in a timely manner, and we need all hands on deck to ensure all of the work gets done when it’s supposed to or at least as much as the weather allows us to accomplish each day.  

As I was working in my office this week, I looked out my window and noticed my youngest son Mason, who was supposed to be cleaning up the 200 square foot sandbox, sitting on his tire swing, just staring up at the sky, rocking back and forth.  

In an instant, I was up, out of my chair, ready to go have a talk with him about focusing on and actively working on the tasks at hand. There’s just no time to waste.  

As I reached my office door, I stopped in my tracks. All at once, it occurred to me our older boys often did the same thing when they were young. I stood there for several minutes, just watching him enjoying the sunshine, as he observed the occasional puffy, white cloud that would pass in front of the clear, blue sky.  

I returned to my seat, as my mind wandered back to my boyhood. Those were the days free from trouble, stress, time constraints and commitments. Those were the days filled with adventure, wonder and a carefree spirit. Those were the days where I was truly free – free to explore, free to observe, free to think and free to be who I wanted to be.  

As I reflected in the moment, I realized how being an adult often causes us to lose the precious things we once had.  

A dear friend of mine taught me what she has done with each of her kids at night to reflect on the day. It’s called “Happy Crappy.”  The rules are each person must name one thing that happened during the day to make them happy and then name one thing they didn’t like, otherwise known as the crappy.  

So, at the end of each day, I’ll ask Mason, “What’s your happy crappy?”  

On this particular day, the moment I nearly interrupted him in my desire to make sure we are always in “accomplishment mode,” just so happened to be his happy. But this wasn’t all. As he slid off the swing, he began to play in the sandbox and said he found tremendous satisfaction making mud with Dr. Pepper and Root Beer.  

Again, in an instant, my mind raced back to my childhood. It was the mid-seventies at the Albin Day Parade where the theme for the year was, “Happiness is…” As parade participants, everyone dressed up, performed and decorated floats of all kinds to fill in the blank about what happiness was to them.  

Mine? Mudpies.  

As the parade marched down main street, I vividly remember pulling my blue, radio flyer wagon full of mudpies, as my hands and clothes were covered in mud. It’s the only year I took first place. And what a celebration that victory was! Mudpies for everyone!   

As I told Mason this story and how I had reigned as the mudpie champion, we both laughed, and he invited me to the sandbox someday to make mud with his favorite sodas. It’s an invitation I gladly accepted.  

I already know on that day, this moment will be my “happy.” It’s amazing what a profound effect just taking a deep breath and living in the moment can do for your soul.

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