My first son Oscar is turning 4 today.
He was born during a blizzard. We were worried he might be born during a blizzard. We would have preferred a home birth but due to our distance from town our midwifes said it was too risky. We hit the road around 1 am in “trusty rusty” my 2001 chevy Silverado. Locked in the 4x4 with our studded tires and we headed to town as the windshield projected views of what star-wars had shown us as what warp speed was to look like. Snow plows getting stuck on the road wasn’t a good sign and navigating through Prince George’s snow-covered roads to the hospital was somewhat of a miracle. After a marathon of labour the Dr said, hey dad, “it’s a boy!” and I cried.
So much changed on that day that Janie and I became parents. Time suddenly became so important as did sleep. Before Oscar, I had toxically prided myself on how little sleep I needed and how long I could endure physical work in whatever conditions mother nature could throw at me. Oscar didn’t really sleep through the night until he was three. The first three months of his life I am not sure Janie and I had much of any sleep.
All that lack of sleep and a desire to be the parents we wanted to be, we changed our thoughts on how hard we wanted to farm and how many hours a week. Basically, we started giving our hours of labour an actual value and instead of just paying employees, we finally began to pay ourselves. We discovered we must become extremely efficient in all things farm and life. Not working a million hours a week farming and certainly not working away in camp somewhere off in the bush. Every minute counts. Our farm changed drastically and continues to change and evolve to balance the ever growing needs of our family and a changing world.
Looking at photos of Janie and I before and after he was born it is clear that life has aged us in the past 4 years. You know how a president or prime minister seems to age greatly in just 4 years? The wrinkles and gray hair I wake to see in the mirror remind me of the challenge it is to create a good life for our children out here on the land. A life in which that they will be empathetic to all, understanding and accepting of different views, passionate and skilled in some facet of our great Bee hive we call humanity all the while being connected to their natural surroundings.
My son today told me about climate change and the challenges it was causing for animals and people of the north.
When I was his age, we were concerned about not littering.
How many generations passed since white folks starting learning that though a person’s skin may not be white, they too were a human of the same caliber or better?
I know there are still some slow learners out there but overall, it’s finally a widely accepted truth now after how many generations since contact was made with other people?
These are the same folks whose religious leaders imprisoned Galileo for life when he told the public that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe. I am sure most indigenous leaders in the “Americas” laughed greatly at this notion, especially the Azteca who astronomical prowess was great.
It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy. Did you know some folks still think the Earth is flat? There is always going to be some stragglers, right?
Empathy, understanding and acceptance of others that may look different from you come from the lessons of a caring parent. One could only hope that greater acceptance and love for all that surrounds us will only increase each generation until we reach the understanding that by loving and accepting all that is on this little rock floating in space, we will love and accept ourselves because we/you are all.
My hope for him is that he will ultimately be better than I and if he is to have children, they will better him.
Happy Birthday Oscar and thank you to all our customers out there that help us sustain this strange rural lifestyle in the boreal forests of northern BC with our kiddos.
See you all in the new year!