Grandma held my hand as I was preparing to leave after a visit. Although just a freshman, soon to be sophomore, in college, my hands were rough and dirt stained. I was caught off guard, not by the state of my hands, but by the hint of disappointment, or perhaps simply weariness, in my grandma’s voice.
I thought ‘but isn’t she proud of the work I do?’ At the time I was confused and maybe even a bit hurt. I was working my way through college after all. It was summertime and I was working at a local dairy as well as for my dad in his construction business and still putting in a few hours a week at a local grocery store as well. I was working for the next year’s tuition but also to gain experience in a field I very much wanted to dedicate my life to.
Grandma has been gone for 9 years now and I still find myself reflecting on this moment.
I know grandma was proud of me and the work I did (and still do) but after a few more years of life, and work and burnout and birth and death and sorrow and joy and rejuvenation, I think I’ve gained some perspective on that moment. I’m guessing that in that moment, my grandma wasn’t so much disappointed in me but was instead flashing through her own life and years of hard work and the accompanying exhaustion and joys and sorrows that she experienced and knew that much of the same lay ahead for me in my chosen agrarian life.
I don’t regret my decisions. I love the physical work of the farm and I still get a thrill when I sit down to a meal that my family and I have grown, harvested, and prepared. I do understand grandma’s weariness now though in a way that I certainly didn’t at 19.
#life reflections series no. 1