“You’re going to miss this someday”
Are the wise words the old folks say
Their advice I must heed,
Rather than wishing the years pass with speed

So I take a breath, slow and deep
Hoping that my memory can keep
The images from these challenging years,
Of these children, my four growing dears

I will miss the walks to the barn
Listening to Cora spin a good yarn
Her tiny soft hand warm in my big one
Her stories, you never know when they are done

Though my patience is tested, day in and day out
This girl reminds me what life’s all about
“I can’t come with you yet, I’m pulling a calf”
There’s not much to do, but shake my head and laugh

Henry has a temper that flares so fast
I often wish this season would be past
Yet his hugs are so sweet, so tender
Many a time they are a mood mender

His smirk shows the mischief he likely is thinking
He’ll be driving a tractor soon if I keep blinking
All too soon he will toss aside his sandbox toys
And be out working alongside the bigger boys

I hope Dane keeps his special insight
He seems to recognize when something’s not right
He is great at offering a helping hand
In the barn or the kitchen, he’s quite grand

I try to capture the images as he grows tall
Even the times he and Ira brawl
These boys how they rumble, yet talk into night,
Usually forgetting about why they fight

I marvel at Ira, becoming a man
The oldest of my fast-growing clan
A born farmer, this strapping teenage boy
Hard to believe he was my first joy
He and I like to spat
No shock about that
He is of his own mind,
But, in ways, we are two of a kind

Walks to the barn, in all kinds of weather
Remind me it is nice to work together
Standing in the yard staring up at the sky
Constellations, the moon; these years will pass by

The wonderful hugs that catch me off-guard,
The things I’ve said, thinking they’re scarred
The meals where they bicker and complain
The inside jokes that are hard to explain

The books we’ve read, the things we’ve done
Even if they aren’t always fun
I will miss much of this time in their lives
I hope for the strength of my mental archives
    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 (12), Dane (10), Henry (5) and Cora (3), 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.