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New seasons for the farm family

Holly Spangler Nathan, Jenna and Caroline Spangler
TRANSITIONS: Kids grow up in a hurry, and all of a sudden, you realize they’re putting themselves to bed, packing their own lunches, running tractors and picking out colleges.
Kids grow up and suddenly, they’re not little anymore. Here’s what our family has seen as our oldest left for college and we transitioned to teenagers and semi-adults.

Back when my kids were in the thick of diapers and potty training and highchairs, I was at a friend’s house one evening. I was tired and rung out and real glad for some adult conversation. When her 8-year-old passed through the living room, she casually told him to head upstairs, take a bath and get ready for bed.

I whipped my head around. Wait. What? They’ll be able to do that some day? Like, on their own? Without me? Without a gargantuan three-hour nightly routine?

Functionally, yes, I knew that was a thing that would happen someday, but in the throes of the baby raising, seeing that possibility was like a beacon of hope, reminding me that better days were coming. A new season would emerge.

And sure enough, it did. Those babies grew up and took their own showers and put their own selves to bed. They started packing their own lunches, managing the barn, running tractors, and then — what even — picking out a college.

It’s funny how the transition from little kids to semi-adults sneaks up on you. When our oldest left for college last fall, it launched a whole other season. One less around the table. Part of my heart on another side of the state. Operationally, the family had a middle management position open up as we learned it was the oldest who made sure calves got turned out, chores got done, jobs got parceled out. The other two spent the next six weeks looking at each other, saying, “I thought you were gonna do that!”

Transitions, man. They’re hard on all of us.

Parenting littles and teens is hard in different ways. Little kids require constant supervision, and much of your day is centered around their needs, but the stuff they get upset over has little lasting consequence — like leaving the park or picking up toys. Teenagers are the opposite.

The days are less physically exhausting, more emotionally exhausting and way more hilarious (see the family group text). They confide in each other and lean on each other. They make crazy memories together that I’ll never know about, which is how it should be.  

It’s a new season for our farm family — but it’s a good one.

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TAGS: Farm Life
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