Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Deadlines looming


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.

12 comments:

Peggy said...

What a wonderful story. Sometimes we have to stop long enough to actually find or see the IMPORTANT things in life. Having had a somewhat difficult childhood myself, the fact that my husband, 30 yrs now, and my three children, 28, 26, 22 are all best friends and really, really enjoy being around each practically all the time is the most precious jewel in the world. When I wonder about life choices I've made I remind myself of what I have and then I know it is all worth it. ewrwrp

martha said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Your Farmer seems to have his priorities right. Work is always there and the more you give to it, the more there is. I'm now loving/living retirement and reflecting on the times I neglected my family and myself to do what I perceived others expected. Those are not the times I remember with fondness. Our families are important and need us to be 'available.' I hope you are able to find the balance that works for all of you.

Willow said...

Thank you for sharing from your heart. My "farmer" and I are in the process of changing directions and we have talked and talked to hammer out our mutual goals and they are taking us in different ways than we expected. Excited? Yes!
Your Julie is going to thank you for the whole of her life for the decisions you have made.
May you have many enjoyable days of sketching on your front porch.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Your 'farmer' is certainly a keeper. I admire his Mom, and I never met her, but she instilled the love of the land into her son and now probably that is passed on to her granddaughter! She would be so pleased to have you as her son's partner.
I am glad you realized that 'working every Saturday' is not what you will be remembered for!

marit said...

Your Farmer is a very wise man, and you are a fast learner! Julia is lucky to have such parents.

joy said...

I'm looking forward to your book even more knowing your beautiful illustrations are a part of it. I taught myself to knit with your illustrations in Knitting For Baby.

Loretta said...

The Farmer sounds a wonderful, wise guy and you sound like you balance each other out very nicely. Your life sounds absolutely idyllic. I'm sure it is not - just like no one's is - but yours certainly comes close and I thank you for sharing it with us.

Caroline said...

You and your husband seem to soooo have life figured out. My husband and I are so often amazed at how fast our children have grown and are so glad that we don't have to add guilt for not spending time with them to our apprehension over the fact that they are closer to being adults than babies now!

Mrs. Staggs said...

All of your posts are real and beautiful Kristin. I know I rarely comment, but I think your blog has become my favorite online read of the day. Thank you.

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Thalia said...

The Farmer is definetly a wise man. Good for you two for finding each other and holding on! :) I grew up in Eastern MA, and I think that throughout the area (New England), there are just absolutely beautiful places to find. Someday I'd love to head out to near where you are and enjoy the area.

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I often need reminding that I can take a day off. Your reminder comes with perfect timing.

After 2 weeks out of three where I was out of state on (fun) business, I wrote on my calendar that today would be a housecleaning day. Instead I took a nap, bought flowers for my garden, had tea with my mother, ate good homemade soup and am perusing more blogs than I usually let myself visit in one day. I am really enjoying hours alone in silence.

I realize now that the house is more patient than I am, anyway. It can wait another day or week to be tidied, or I can do a little every day until it's where I want it. For now I just need to recharge.

Thanks for the reminder, even the permission, to know that my change in plans was most sane.