Growing up, everyone referred to me as ‘tough’. Boy I was proud of myself for being so tough and strong. I never let on that I had feelings. I never let on that I was one of the most sensitive people I know.
My dad, sister, and I with a baby that needed a little TLC after being born in a snow drift.
When my cows had to be sold I would go up to my room and just cry. I didn’t understand why my dad had to sell my babies. I raised those babies. Being 8 years old and having to sell your babies seemed like the worst possible thing in the world. I never let my dad see my tears. I pretended that I loved selling babies to get more babies (which is some what true, I did love when I got new babies to feed). My animals meant more to me than anything else. No one has truly understood that better than my dad. He knew I cried. He knew I was upset, he just never let on. He let me be ‘tough’.
Instead of ‘showing’ my steer Curly, I was loving him.
There was another time that I had a ‘pet pig’ named Arnold. Arnold was really my friend. I had social anxiety when I was younger, but for some reason I could always relate to my animals. I knew from the beginning that Arnold wasn’t a pet, but food. I couldn’t help that I grew a relationship with him. I fed him twice a day and would sit in there and talk for hours. He truly was a great listener. 🙂 Well Arnold disappeared one day. I knew exactly what had happened. I went to my room once again and cried. Dad thought he slid this one by. I was ‘tough’ though and never let anyone know. To this day, I still miss that stupid pig and am mad that Dad sold him without me getting to say goodbye. But ‘tough’ farm girls don’t admit things like that. Farm girls are tough and don’t care if they sell their animals. It’s the life of a farmer. Well this farm girl DID care. She isn’t tough enough to say goodbye. She understands that they have to be sold and that this is how the life cycle works. She just wishes it wasn’t so hard for her to say goodbye and that she didn’t grow so attached.
This year I had to sell my first 4-H heifer. Her name was Joey. She had raised around 15 calves for me, but God just wanted her now. It was one of the hardest things for me to do. For 16 years I could just go up to this cow and pet her in the pasture. I could lay down on her and take a nap. She was a lover and oh so soft. This was when my dad finally figured out that this was going to be harder to do for me than ever before. I’ve had to sell some other cows before, but not ones that I had broke to lead and become THIS attached to. ‘Tough’ Kellie once again came to the surface and told her dad that she knew it had to be done. You could see in my dad’s eyes that he didn’t want to sell her anymore than I did. We both knew it just had to be done. Tough Kellie was actually tough for once and kept it together to make sure she didn’t make her dad feel horrible. She just held her dad’s hand and let a tear run down her cheek. God had made this decision for her and she needed to admit he was right. Being ‘tough’ really sucks.
My Joey girl!
After Joey was sold, I had to sell my favorite bull, my first horse, and a few other wonderful cows that had been in my life for awhile. It became easier for me the more I had to do it. I really did become ‘tough’ and realize that this is God’s way of making sure that things keep going ’round. I also realized that I don’t always have to put on a brave face and pretend that I’m okay with everything. I can have feelings. Just because I’m a farm girl doesn’t mean that I can’t love. I have so much love for my animals, my land, and my passion that it makes me such a sensitive person. Having a father that taught me to be tough was one of the best things I could have asked for. He didn’t give me everything I wanted to make me realize early in life that this is farming. He taught me the ways of the life early so as I aged and became more mature I could handle this. At the age of 23 I still HATE selling my animals and saying goodbye, but I am getting better at it. It is becoming easier for me, but it hasn’t stopped my love. I will always love my animals with my whole heart. They are a part of me. They help me have a living that I love. I’ve realized that my love makes me a better farmer and it helps me see the good in everything I do. I just have to let go sometimes and be brave. Just because I’m a farmer doesn’t mean I have to always have on this tough face.
I’ve never heard of someone having ‘too much love’.
What about the rest of you? Am I the only one who is this sensitive? Does everyone else have an easier time selling their babies?