September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Hard lesson for a little girl

Having Lily in school every day is bittersweet. Sweet because the house is quieter and it is easier to do everything with only one child in tow. Bitter because between getting home from school, dinner, and the early bedtime Lily requires to not be a tired, crabby mess the next day - fun times together are short and few. So, on a rainy October Saturday, I was trying to come up with something special for us to do.
Lily was watching cartoons when she suddenly ran into the kitchen.
"Mom!" she said excitedly, "Can we see Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse?"
Perfect! Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse was a play showing at 7 p.m. at Stages Theater in Hopkins, a great little theater that specializes in children's plays.
I brought the idea up to Kurt.
"You two can have a girl's night out," he said.
We agreed that he would have Tate in the barn with him while he milked, and then put Tate to bed when he got in.
Lily was thrilled. It would be our special mommy/daughter night.
When Kurt headed outside to start chores at 4:15, I told him I would push Tate down to the barn in his specially designated "barn stroller" shortly before Lily and I needed to leave at 6.
I had just finished making dinner when Kurt poked his head in the door at 5:10, looking frazzled.
"I need to pull Jigger out of the ditch."
"Jigger is stuck in the ditch. I need to pull her out, but I should be back by 6."
Jigger, otherwise known as #56, is an older cow with bad arthritis in her back legs. A ditch runs through the west pasture, and Jigger had wandered down in it. She was up to her belly in mud and her stiff legs couldn't pull herself out.
Kurt set off to rescue Jigger and dinner cooled while Lily and I changed clothes. As we sat down to eat, the milker pump was still silent, which meant that Kurt wasn't back yet. He usually starts evening chores at 5 and it was 5:45. A thought struck me, "Why hasn't Sam started chores?" I glanced out the window-no sign of Sam's truck. I guess he wasn't coming tonight. Which meant that even if Kurt did get back to the barn by 6, he was going to be an hour late in starting chores, plus have a 21 month-old little boy to keep an eye on. It was time to rethink tonight's plans. Oh boy.
I looked at Lily. "Honey, Daddy is really late in starting chores. I think I might need to help him milk."
"But Mom!" she protested with tears in her eyes. "We're already dressed up!"
"I know." I told her. "We can go to the play tomorrow. Daddy needs my help. Which is more important-a play or Daddy?"
"Daddy," she mumbled.
"This is what happens sometimes when you live on a farm. Things come up."
I shouldn't have said this, because her response was: "I wish we lived in a city house."
I had her run down to the barn to see if Kurt was back while I cleaned Tate up. A few minutes later she opened the front door.
"He's not there!" she sobbed. "All the cows are there, but he's not!" I tired to console her with thoughts of playing at Grandma's house, but the tears were still plentiful.
When I surprised my mother-in-law with two kids in tow and a request that she watch them so I could help Kurt with chores, I glanced out her window toward the pasture and the ditch. Jigger was lying in a heap next to the tractor, but at least her head was up. By the time I got down to the barn, Kurt was about six cows into milking.
"Is Jigger going to make it?" I asked. "Should I call the vet?"
Kurt shrugged. "Was Lily upset?"
"There were tears, but we can go tomorrow. I asked her which was more important, Daddy or a play, and she said Daddy."
Jigger was up and grazing with the other cows before we were finished milking, and Lily and I enjoyed the play the following afternoon. My five year-old learned a hard lesson that day: when you're a dairy farmer, the cows pay the bills, so the cows come first.
[[In-content Ad]]


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.