Wednesday, April 25, 2007
April 30th (next Monday) is my illustration deadline for Kristin Knits. I wasn’t going to illustrate this book but then somehow decided I couldn’t pass up the money. I’ve got dreams of a new IBook. I haven’t had a laptop since the first Power Macs came out. It wasn’t mine – it was the company’s I worked for but I loved that thing – all 23 lbs of it or whatever it was. It was heavy and gave off a lot of heat. I used to sit on my porch and work on knitting charts and typesetting and be able to look at the birds and my flowers.
I used to work a lot – a real lot – probably what most single people do now without a lot of family obligations. Weekends away at trade shows. Travel to NYC for a day. Saturdays at the office working on stuff. There was never enough time to get everything done. I was committed to helping the company grow and making beautiful products.
One Friday night after telling The Farmer, I had to work the next day, he said to me, “What do you want them to put on your headstone? That you worked every Saturday?” I sat up and took notice. I still went to work the next day but I started to think about my life a little closer.
The Farmer is a lot smarter than I am in many ways. He had what I would call an difficult childhood. He doesn’t think so but when you compare it to my family life growing up in a two parent many child home where my mom never worked outside the home, it sure was different. His mother was a nurse and she worked all the time. His father was a dairy farmer and we all know how much work that is – more than all the time. He and his two brothers were raised by an elderly aunt when one parent wasn’t around. It doesn’t sound much different than how kids are raised today. When he was eight, his father Norman (The First Farmer or “The Farmer’s Father”) died suddenly of a brain tumour. His grandmother moved in and helped out and Betty, his mom, tried to keep it all together. All the cows were sold and the three boys muddled through. Somehow, Betty was able to hold onto their farm. She eventually ended up getting a real estate liscense and sold houses for the rest of her life. (She was and still is my hero.) She died the year after we got married and we still miss her desperately 22 years later.
The Farmer’s life has been shaped by his upbringing, as all children’s lives are. When I first met him – and we are talking almost thirty years ago - I remember his shy manner particularly. But I also remember his total love for his family’s farmland and western Massachusetts. He told me he came from the “Most Beautiful Place in the World.” I was impressed that someone, so young, could know this. I couldn’t believe that someone who grew up so monetarily poor (although not hungry), could be so well-adjusted and positive in their outlook on life.
Now that I have been living here for several years, in His Most Beautiful Place in the World, I completely agree. I thank my lucky stars I found such a great partner in life and that we can enjoy so many things together – the land, plants, animals, our families, and our daughter. I thank him for telling me it was okay to not work on Saturdays and to enjoy life a little more.