By JUDITH SUTHERLAND
Farm and Dairy columnist
There is just nothing like the blessing of a newborn baby. Arriving a full month early, our family’s most recent arrival is tiny but mighty. Oliver granted me a little time to hold his peanut-sized baby brother, who, as it turns out, was not named White Tractor after all.
But in very short order Oliver let me know we had some pretty important farming to do in the living room. I tried to hide my wish to keep holding that baby for a couple more hours, not wanting the big brother to feel pushed aside.
Thus begins that march toward falling in to our birth order personalities with help from every single family member along the way. This beautiful baby was given the name Johnathan Clark, a gracious nod of respect to his father’s great-grandfather and great-uncle John, with Clark having been the maiden name of this baby boy’s mama. It is a wonderful, solid, all-American name for an incredibly perfect little guy.
I want hours of uninterrupted time to hold him, rock him, gaze upon those tiny feet and those impossibly long fingers. But, duty calls, and the trumpeteer’s name is Oliver.
“Gonna rain. Gotta get all the tractors in the barn!” Oliver said to me with grave concern in his voice. “This will be our barn,” I said to Oliver and his visiting friend Mallory, driving one John Deere tractor toward the kid table. “And we have to make sure we close the barn door!” I said, using the tiny chair as our barn door.
Mallory gave me the greatest million dollar smile as she realized I knew how to play. She was wise enough to realize that a hard-working Bobcat had better go in the barn before this rainstorm blew in.
“Moves dirt!” she explained to me with seriousness, her little hands going every which way as she explained how a Bobcat gets things done. “Get the wagon too! We got hay in there!” Oliver chimed in with that touch of panic that only a true farmer knows when it comes to hay at risk of a rainstorm.
I reached for a baby blanket and pretended the wind was beginning to blow. “We need to get under here! That rain is going to come down hard!” Two adorable little faces lit up as they followed my lead.
While the three of us huddled under our shelter, Mallory and Oliver let me know their style of farming moves at lightning-warp speed. There was no resting allowed under that safe canopy.
“Rain’s done!” one of them chirped, “Let’s go!”
While our gifts to Johnathan included the tiniest of clothing and diapers, all simply boring, Oliver’s big brother gift was a sturdy miniature semi truck and detachable trailer, complete with a back door that rolls up just like the real ones do. Oliver let me know he thinks that is a pretty sweet treat, adding to his on-farm inventory just perfectly.
“Load the truck!” he says to me, real shelled corn needing to be moved from the wagon parked near his combine. With the 2-year-old’s joy for repetition, we found ourselves ducking for cover from pounding rain storms several times before the oldest farmer in the room was simply worn out.
In this work-fueled world, it may seem hard to find the time for such joys, but in the blink of an eye those little ones will be too busy for play. I want to enjoy every moment so willingly given. I want to hold that baby while he stretches, yawns, sleeps, settling in so sweetly in my arms.
This gift doesn’t last nearly long enough. When it was time for me to go, my two newest buddies hugged me and begged me to stay. What a way to make one’s day!