Lately I ponder how it would be
If each child had come with a handbook
It could be delivered after their birth
I would surely take more than a quick look

It would tell me their quirks
So I would be better prepared
Then I would be ready
More of my brown hairs would be spared

Ira’s book would warn of the trials of being 14
Able to work, drive and play football
But still able to farm with his Ertl toys
When he needs a break from it all

When he is frustrated, he will clam right up
And I should be calm and not lose my cool
Be patient and kind, being a teenager is tough
Bite my tongue before I say something cruel

It would have a chapter on deer and tractors
And it would warn me early on of his passions
It would tell me to take great comfort
For this boy is ignorant of most popular fashions

The book about my dear 12-year-old Dane
Would be colorful and thick
Notes about his need to have something in his hands
From yarn to work with, or magnets that form and stick

A page or two about his temper that will flare
When sleep has run short and he’s overtired
Sometimes this mom forgets to show compassion
Sometimes this mom thinks she should be fired

It would have a chapter listed with bullet points
He will need to know the plans for the day
It is imperative to know for certain what’s scheduled
From the list we must try not to stray

Henry, an operator of equipment already at 8
His book would read of his love for tools, wheels and gears
Tell me to be expecting much worry
He will be driving big things in his young years
It will note that he will be an angry door-slammer
He harbors a stubborn streak and can be silent for hours
But, on the flip side, his hugs are the best, given freely
These are the things that hold magical mom-calming powers

There will be pages on his uncanny drawing ability
Sketching entire scenes from memory just like he saw
He is third in the line-up and will want to be Ira
His looks favor Uncle Tony, personality favors his Pa

The handbook on Cora would be flowery and pink
Written in large letters it will say
Be prepared, she is you, she is wild
And she will wear five dresses in one day
She will possess the need to care for all creatures
She will observe and ask questions, seeking to know
This girl will surprise you with her ideas
It will be amazing watching her mind grow

She will be a bright spot, a whirlwind
Who will hate having wet clothes, beware
It will be a matter of mere seconds
And she will have them off no matter where

I haven’t found these books yet in my reading stash
I suppose I’ll continue to muddle my way through
Winning, failing, trying to do better each day
Telling myself to do the best I can do
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.