The verse below is part of poem I wrote several years ago called, The Space Between Us:
now i think of time
walking to its rhythm
while denying its existence
present moments rarely pausing
while sons become men in
the space between us.
I don’t share the verse with any thought that the poetry is remarkable. I write when compelled as I have for as long as I can remember. It is simply a reminder to myself to capture moments before they flee. The point of this reflection is not the poem but to say the underlying observations in this verse are no longer the inevitable prognostications of parents with young children. My oldest son has become a man. It did not happen overnight and yet, it feels very sudden. I think that’s my realization that this lanky soon to be 15 year old kid, who can still be silly with his four year old brother, aggravate his eleven year old brother, and reel off corny puns at the dinner table with the best tween humorists out there, can also chuck 50lbs. bags of feed, make clever short films, and rescue the escaped dairy herd from the front yards of neighbors.
In our two plus years of cow ownership, we’ve only had a few escapes. None as egregious as the most recent. The barn lot gate was somehow nudged open and the foraging free-for-all began. The timeline of the jailbreak is unknown, as I was at work and the family was at their Tuesday homeschool co-op. The details of the event are inconsequential to the point, which is, in part, to say that raising children is hard work and in the chaos we often miss the opportunities to reflect on real growth. Being a husband and father are the only endeavors in life that push my strengths and, simultaneously, challenge every weakness. These are expansive responsibilities and I have, more often than makes me comfortable, felt the pangs of failure in undertaking them. One beautiful element of life among many others is that it’s cyclical so there are often multiple chances to get it right.
As my wife and I lay in bed talking the other night, it occurred to me that my eldest is bearing fruit. That is, he is becoming the man we have aimed him toward. That is not to say, our children have not borne fruit up to now. Of course they have and continue to do so. It is just too easy to get lost in our own parenting mistakes and our character flaws seen in the mirrors that are our children. But it gives me great peace to see that our aim is true, despite our tendency to miss the mark. It also gives me great peace that the space between us is filled with little souls whose aim is also true. Maybe they will miss the mark fewer times than I have. That’s The Homeplace Farm’s prayer of regeneration.