In my travels this winter, I was fortunate to meet Heather Dineen, the Waxahachie, Texas, farmer who was chosen as Monsanto's 2014 Farm Mom of the Year. She is lovely and I could listen to her Texas accent all day long.
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She struck me most immediately as being of incredibly deep character, and well spoken. It was only when I asked about her children that she hesitated in her conversation. She and her husband, John Paul, are parents to four children but lost their son, Johnny, in a farm accident 8 years ago. He was just five years old and I will tell you as the mother of my own little farm boy, my heart broke for her in that instant. I didn't know what happened nor did I ask – partly because it wasn't pertinent to the story at hand but partly because I didn't think I could without losing it. Farm boys and farm accidents. It's all too close to home, too real. Too possible.
Part of what Heather spoke about that day were the opportunities she'd been given to speak about farm family safety as Farm Mom of the Year. Last week, this video appeared in my newsfeed, and I watched and my heart broke again for the family. For lives changed in an instant. For a family, changed in an instant. For an accident. For a little boy.
My farm boy is 10 now, twice the age of Heather's little Johnny when he died. I worry less about my boy running around in the farm yard unnoticed, and more about his over-confidence at the helm of tractors and four wheelers and more. Just the thing they mention in this video. And so I had him watch it, as we spent an afternoon together last week. We'll keep talking about it, because 10-year-olds and over-confidence stick together like glue.
I'm grateful to Heather, for her ability to speak of their accident, of this day in their family's life. Take a moment and watch this video, and share it with your children and grandchildren. It's six minutes well spent, for sure.