Life Happens

life-happensGrowing up, I was always surprised when friends said they had never been to a funeral. We had a large extended family living near us, so funerals were a part of life. We even had funerals for our pets, and then my brothers and I would make headstones out of cement and rocks in our sand box toys. We once even dug the dead kittens back up to see what they looked like a few weeks later. Births were also a part of life. One of our cats had a favorite spot to have kittens – my mom’s closet.

It seems like many kids today, in our part of the world anyway, are very sheltered from seeing how life and death really happen. Their mom goes to the hospital, and comes home with a baby. Pets can disappear to the vet and not come home. Growing up on a farm, that is not how it works. Seeing both birth and death are a part of life. I remember childhood trips with my grandfather on the loader tractor as we took dead cows back to where he buried them. We poked around a cow that had died of a mysterious disease that causes bloating, hoping that the balloon shaped cow wouldn’t explode. Years before I had my own children, I had been up to my elbow inside a pig, turning a piglet that was stuck. I even helped my husband deliver some piglets when we had been dating only a few weeks.

I am glad that my kids are getting to grow up with these sorts of experiences as well. Recently, my husband found a dead woodchuck on our farm, so my boys went to look at it before he took it back to the woods. It helps them get an understanding of death, which can be a hard concept for kids. They get to see piglets and calves being born. There isn’t much need for a “birds and bees” talk with a farm kid, although there can be a lot of questions that can be difficult to answer. Kids don’t have any difficulty asking questions that adults find embarrassing to answer. Try explaining castration to a five year old. My five year old also recently wanted to know why the daddy cows don’t stay with their babies.

While there are the hard times when a much loved animal dies, there is nothing more adorable than seeing a newborn calf learning to follow its mother across the field, or picking up a piglet and having it nuzzle you. I think that growing up with a familiarity with both birth and death keeps you more in touch with the cycle of life.

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About This Blogger

Kaitlyn Sexton

I was born in a small town (less than 2,000 people small, thought I would clarify since I have heard some people refer to 30,00 as a small town and there’s a big difference) in southern Michigan. I grew up on the farm my family has owned since the mid-1800s. My grandparents lived across the road from us. I love books and learning so I have taken a college class on about every subject there is, and I just got my own library in our new house. I also enjoy baking and sewing. My husband farms too, and we just moved into a farmhouse we have been remodeling for the last year. It turns out his parents went to school with my dad and our grandfather’s were friends. In a small town, everyone knows or is related to everyone else. We have 3 kids- a 5 year old boy, a 2 year old boy, and a 4 month old girl. I am homeschooling our oldest, although with his love for numbers, I often think he is teaching me. I recently completed my pre/postnatal fitness specialist certification and I am working on completing my personal trainer certification. I also sell baked goods and children’s clothes from home, when I am not refilling sippy cups of milk while wearing the baby in her carrier.