All the Things They Teach Me

June 11, 2014 § 23 Comments

Ah, June!

Ah, June!

Rye’s doe Flora had quadruplets yesterday. Three does and a buck and they all came out alive, though it was pretty clear the buck wasn’t in great shape. He was weak and panting and having a hell of a time finding his feet and there was a fairly steady stream of gunk coming from his lungs. Probably swallowed amniotic fluid or something.

Rye spent the day tending to him. Heat lamp, rub downs, bottle feedings and so on. I even tried sucking the stuff out of him, which of course did nothing but give me what will hopefully be my first and last taste of goat slobber. By late afternoon, it was pretty clear the little fella wasn’t going to make it. I mean, he might’ve lived a while longer, but he was clearly suffering, his head all folded over and his mouth wide open, gasping for air. When I picked him up, I could feel his heart trying to beat its way out of his chest.

So Rye decided to put him down. Do you want me to do it, I asked? No, he said, it was his goat. His responsibility. He got the .22 and carried the little fellow out of the pen. He was choked up. Not crying, but on the verge. Are you sure? I asked. He nodded. He shot.

Life is about many things. One of those things is the ability to hold in one hand that which must be done, even as you hold in the other the sometimes desperate wish that you didn’t have to do it. I’m still learning how to navigate these moments. I bet most of you  are, too.

I suppose it could be argued that in a literal sense, Rye didn’t actually have to do what he did; he could have taken me up on my offer. I would have thought no less of him for it.

So in a sense, it’s not that he had to do it. It’s that he felt as if he had to do it.

Maybe I’m selfish to even think it, but you know what’s one of the coolest things about having the boys around so much? All the things they teach me.

 

 

§ 23 Responses to All the Things They Teach Me

  • Hank Bolduc says:

    That is always a hard task for anyone.

  • Your boy is a very brave young man. Very responsible for his age.
    You have every right to be proud of him.

    Job well done, dad!

  • Amy says:

    oh-oh-oh I’m sorry for all of you. Valuable lesson, but so sad. Well done, Papa, for letting your boy do this difficult man’s job. Well done.

  • NeoNoah says:

    Great boy—strike that—great young man you have there.

  • Martha Caldwell-Young says:

    <3
    "Life is about many things. One of those things is the ability to hold in one hand that which must be done, even as you hold in the other the sometimes desperate wish that you didn’t have to do it. I’m still learning how to navigate these moments. I bet most of you are, too."

  • wes says:

    speachless. bless him.

  • Mitty says:

    Well done, Rye.

  • Seeking Joyful Simplicity says:

    Real life… more valuable, more relevant, than any school curriculum.

  • Valerie says:

    You are raising young men of character, exactly what the world needs more of.

  • So very brave. Our eight year old son and I put down our first chick last week. Luke was much more brave than me, but he knew in his heart, it was time. You’re right, they teach us so much.

  • Eumaeus says:

    I’m not going to comment today.

  • ncfarmchick says:

    Ending suffering is sometimes the kindest thing we can do but that doesn’t make it easy. Thank you for sharing this lesson with us. Peace!

  • ncfarmchick says:

    The title of this post reminds me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance when she found out our plans to homeschool. She said she couldn’t homeschool because she couldn’t be with her children all the time and didn’t think they would like it either. Besides feeling sad that someone would feel this way about their children I thought, “What a missed opportunity to learn from each other!” Something you very clearly understand and appreciate.

  • rhondajean says:

    June looks good in your neck of the woods.

  • Tanya says:

    It is the way it is. Not yesterday, not tomorrow but today. NOW. Of course your boy understood that, of course he did. How could he not? The life he breathes dictates this…but gosh it still makes me smile. ( why do I feel the need to add? I sure shouldn’t but I am obviously not smiling about the death but the growth of a boy).

  • I am vegetarian, in part because I couldn’t do what you and your family do – raise & slaughter the animal and deal with instances like this. I believe that if I am not prepared to do it, I shouldn’t be eating the end result. I greatly admire people who are able to though, especially at a young age. You are rightly very proud of your sons and it shines through in your writing.

  • Eumaeus says:

    ‘Ending suffering is sometimes the kindest thing we can do but that doesn’t make it easy.’

    WORKing to end suffering, fuckin’ a

    • ncfarmchick says:

      I’m not sure what to make of this comment. Would love to understand better.

      • Eumaeus says:

        like the Bodhisattva vow… or what Jesus taught…

        suffering is thinking that you’re separate
        and it is not easy to 1. stop thinking
        and 2. realize that you’re not separate.
        and that is what we are working towards
        some of us more consciously (and i don’t mean that in a bad way) than others, but it is the direction we go

        And sometimes i find it remarkable when i’m reminded of this.
        Mostly though. i hope you don’t try to make to much of anything. you are perfect the way you are. <3

  • MamaAshGrove says:

    They do indeed teach us so much- I am in awe over how brave and resilient children can be. This is such a difficult time for anyone- what a brave and strong boy you’ve got.

  • ncfarmchick says:

    I hear you, Eumaeus. Thanks for the clarification. Always appreciate and learn from your comments. I know I would not have been wise enough at Rye’s age to do what he had to do and I admire him his wisdom and kindness.

  • JamminginMD says:

    “One of those things is the ability to hold in one hand that which must be done, even as you hold in the other the sometimes desperate wish that you didn’t have to do it.” Perfectly distilled. And bruises the soul. Thank you

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