Contentment, that slippery thing

Yesterday I watched my son ride his bike through the front pasture. He was chasing a cow. At times like these, I’m not sure why I gave him siblings or a dog. We don’t have sidewalks here or else I’m positive he would’ve chosen to ride on that.

I’m glad he didn’t run over the cow. Puzzle, the nice milk cow, is about the only animal on this place who earns her keep. We get almost three gallons of milk from Puzzle on once-a-day (everyday, of course) milking. Even for greedy guts like us, that’s a lot of milkshakes and alfredo sauce. So last night, I called up the dairy across the street to see if they had any bottle calves for sale. They did.

I hung up the phone and yelled for the masses. My kids found a dog collar and leash (actually, they stole one off the calf born last week) and came back home twenty minutes later with a little Jersey bull calf. He’s one week old. Sure, I can’t get a latte where I live, but I can always scrounge up a bottle calf or a moonshiner lickity split. Bonus points if either can stand up.

While my oldest kid peddled after a cow and my younger son took turns walking the new baby calf on a dog leash, Greg and I sat on the porch, and I talked about the sporty convertible I planned to drive one day. Greg swatted a fly.

The car will have leather seats. When I reach for the seat belt buckle, there won’t be any gum wrappers hidden underneath it. There won’t be dog pee on the front right tire. When I open the car door, a bucket of baseballs won’t spill out and I won’t get a ticket for littering for simply wanting to get into my car on a windy day. The tape deck will work.

By then, my kids will have learned not to eat, drink, throw up, or breathe in the car I have to drive. In this universe, my hair won’t be frizzy anymore, and the bank teller won’t be snotty with me. It’ll all be great. I can see it now.

This morning, I had someone tell me that my life was perfect. I appreciated her letting me know. (She hadn’t heard about the goats yet, and for decorum purposes, I decided against sharing any labor and delivery stories.) I’ve got six kids, a farm, and I make my own butter. So obviously.

I know what it feels like to find out everyone else is having a good time while you’re just paying bills and trying to get the kids to brush their teeth and show some respect around here. I know that everyone else is happy because last year I signed up for Facebook and now I have friends.

We’re all reaching, trying to tweak that thing that if we could “just get right” will magically make our lives perfect, or at least….happy. When it’s late and quiet and dark, sometimes we are just thinking about how to hold our marriage together. I think about the perfect formula for happiness all the time, though I’m too theologically snooty to call it that. If I could just lose weight, if I could just control my temper, if I could just remember what I wore yesterday but forget about that thing someone said last month, if I could just be open and vulnerable to the people I love — then everything would be okay. Wouldn’t it?

For tonight, I sit on my porch and stop talking. I watch. It is summer, God’s favorite season, and incidentally, mine as well. There are cows frolicking in my pasture. And little boys too.

32 Responses to “Contentment, that slippery thing”

  1. 1
    Eric W.

    So you’re sporty convertible of the future will have a working tape deck?

  2. 2

    I don’t know about perfect, but I know plenty about frizzy hair and gum wrappers and nobody showing any respect around here. Slippery, the whole thing.

    Yet, there is a certain idyll in “So last night, I called up the dairy across the street…” as opposed to “so last night, I called up the convenience store across the street….” . On the other hand, the words “goat massacre” will probably never cross my mind without thinking of you. You’re on to something – cows and little boys are where it’s at.

  3. 3

    Eric, she’s OLD.

    And learning to be content… with her tape deck.

    Snicker, snort.

    Janet, who knew how to run the tape deck but has to get the kids to work the new-fangled sound system.

  4. 4
    Nonna

    Maybe the tape deck is an 8-track in a restored, totally cool ’78 Camero!

  5. 5
    Amy R.

    Thanks for this reminder. Praise the Lord that his mercies are new every morning! And his blessings abound!

  6. 6
    Amy Scott

    The tape deck was a nuanced reference that meant: any convertible that I’ll drive in my new life will be ancient. :)

  7. 7
    Jennifer

    Delightful read! Thanks.

  8. 8
    Dea

    nothing to add as I’m not super good at postings, but this was a superb few minutes of reading – thanks Amy :) Yes, I do know how to add smilies at least. This was good stuff!

  9. 9
    David T. in Fayetteville, GA

    This is why I recommend your blog to my family and friends — so, so good!

  10. 10

    Something I’ve never let my mind put into words to tell someone else, because I didn’t want to acknowledge the thing that needed tweaking or look at the fear that it might never work out (b/c maybe that wasn’t the thing that was out of whack to begin with?). The whole of it by you, summed up so perfectly.

  11. 11

    Sharemilking is definitely the way to go, hope it’s working out. We only take a gallon from our Jersey every morning and it’s still too much for us!

    I can SO relate to litter blowing out of the suv on a windy day. We have so much junk and trash floating around our vehicle that I think it’s seriously impacting our mpg.

  12. 12

    I so needed this today.

  13. 13

    Lovely. :)

  14. 14

    Every new post you’ve written lately, I’ve called my favorite yet. No pressure though!!
    Ahh yes, the perfect world.
    That would be the one without big globs of toothpaste in MY sink; no legos on my bedroom floor to step on at 2 in the morning; no ear infections, or viruses, or juvenile diabetes.
    It would be heaven. Indeed, it shall!!

  15. 15

    All I can think of at this moment is that across the street from us is a goat farm. ;p

    Excellent post Amy.

  16. 16

    What a lovely read. For now, your writing voice is your convertable. I say just get a couple of dirt bikes and tear up that pasture with the boys. But I guess that would we working against the message of this article :)

  17. 17

    For now, your convertable is your writing voice, which I pray for you will go further than any car. I the mean time, I say buy a couple of dirt bikes and tear up that pasture with the boys! Although, I guess I’m working against the message of your article with that suggestion.

  18. 18

    Very nice Amy!

  19. 19

    Love this. As a mom of 4 in the middle of french fries on my floorboard and dog slobber on my jeans, it’s always nice to read something kindred that brings a little lump to my throat about how precious life really is. Of course, I’m always pretty hormonal about stuff like that. :)

  20. 20

    I often wonder what it’s like to lead a simple life–when I pass by the beautiful farm houses in the mountains near where I live. I look at the pastures and think, “Wouldn’t it be nice…” But quite frequently I’m reminded that no, it’s not the simple life. It’s just someone else’s normal. So, thank you for sharing your little bit of normal–your blog really is a pleasure to read. :)

  21. [...] While you are waiting for the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth, be sure to enjoy this time between the “already” and the “not yet.” To read all of the article that I have quoted (and I would encourage you to do so if you would like to smile) go to Amy’s Humble Musings. [...]

  22. 22

    Your lovely writing voice is your convertable in this age, and I hope it reaches much further than a car can go. For now, get a couple of dirt bikes and tear up that field with those boys! (I know, back to wishing for material things again!)

  23. [...] From Amy’s Humble Musings: [...]

  24. 24
    Micah

    love it!

  25. 25

    What’s a tapedeck? ;o)

  26. 26
    livex

    summer, God’s favorite season

    Pffft. And you know this how?

  27. 27
    livex

    summer, God’s favorite season

    Pfffft. And you know this how?

  28. 28

    [...] And then there’s wishing thinking and there’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Peace of mind. Contentment. Reading this from Amy’s Humble Musings: [...]

  29. 29

    Lovely and poignent post.

  30. 30

    [...] can be evasive. Here’s a reflection on the subject by Amy [...]

  31. 31

    I have read this post a dozen times. Thank you! I love the last paragraph. Deep in the throws of my days with my 3 and 1 year olds, it’s nice to have a reminder to slow down. Thank you!

  32. 32
    Marsha

    As I read this post, pictures raced through my mind. Maybe I read it once before. I, personally, have a hard time remembering yesterday, let alone a month ago. But as I read the last few paragraphs I saw a reflection of me. As if I were writing to myself…minus four of the children. :) I, too, need to stop to sit on the porch and swat at a few flies.


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