Over the past weekend I took a few hours to ride with Clay as he was raking pastures of hay. My boy who, 12 years ago...or was it 12 blinks of my eye?...said his first word. Would you believe it was "tractor"?
He'd been alone on the field for about 6 hours when I got there, and welcomed me for a ride on the old John Deere. Can much more joy overcome a mom whose almost teenage son is genuinely excited to see her...to talk to her...to spend time with her?
Often a kid of few words, Clay began explaining the process to me. Soon, I found myself asking questions and realized the boy I spent the past year teaching in home school was teaching me. I asked if he would let me have a try. Without hesitating to remind me of my past failures with machinery, he traded spots with me, and began giving instructions.
There are a lot of things to remember when running machinery. As he gave me every step needed before taking off, or when stopping, I kept thinking I should have a checklist. To him, each step was just a perfectly natural order of how to make it all work. I asked the same questions over and over, and he gave beautifully easy, logical answers each and every time. He never sighed. Never rolled his eyes. Never gave me that look. As I listened, because I know it's unlikely my boys will ever turn me loose on a tractor alone, I was more interested in the quality of his teaching than the subject.
What could I learn from his teaching? A lot.
After a few laps with me behind the wheel, Clay moved back into the driver's seat. I took my place sitting up on the fender again. The noise from an open cab tractor working the fields is really loud. Yet the clacking of the equipment was more like calm silence than anything I'd heard in as long as I could recall. As we bounced along, I wanted to stay right there forever, in the noisiest peaceful place I could imagine.
I know more about Clay than I did before our ride. Spending time with him alone, not just anywhere, but in a place he loves, was right where I needed to be with him.
He is growing up to become quite a young man.
One who loves our Creator.
Joyful. Patient. Strong. Kind. Hard working. Confident.
One I admire.
When it was time for me to leave, I hopped down and watched the tractor slowly make its way to the back corner of the field, where I could no longer see it. As I started walking to the car, a flock of ducks flew overhead. In the otherwise silence of the hay field, with the tractor now out of earshot, I could hear the loud wind under flapping wings. No doubt, there is something about nature, standing in the middle of a field, that felt like God saying, "Stop and enjoy this one last thing before you move on, Brook." And I did.