Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Milking

This morning I slipped on my Mom's coveralls before heading out to take care of the rabbit and chickens.  The familiar fabric and smell of the coveralls flooded me with memories of my Mom. As I knocked the ice out of the chicken bucket, I felt transported back to my early years. I was sitting in the patched up lawn chair, scratching a cat and chatting with Mom as she milked.  As we talked about life and the world, the metronome "splat… splat… splat" of goats milk hitting the metal pan kept pace. I remember the smell of the udder wash, the rag from one of Dad's old t-shirts and the steam rolling off the washing bucket. I remember the way her steady, powerful hands could express twice as much milk as mine could in the same amount of time. I remember the gentile and loving way my mom stroked the goat's neck to tell her she was "all done". We had some deep conversations in the milking room. Some of my very best memories in that dusty, cobwebbby space. As a kid, I took all of that time for granted. Now I look back and realize how special it really was. Two times per day for 20 years, I knew I could find my mom and have her (almost) undivided attention. In that room she taught me who I was, and to be strong and brave and how to be a good person.

So now, as I wear these coveralls, I try not to be sad, but to be happy - for the wonderful life she gave me and the memories I like these that will always keep her close.