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A farm boy’s rite of passage

When I got to the field with lunch, I watched the combine as it devoured the swath.

“ I need Wade to combine today.” My husband’s words shocked me. Assuring me that our son was more than ready, my husband promised to teach him every step carefully and stay with him until he was sure he could handle the job. As a farm safety educator, I know the importance of age-appropriate tasks, matching a child’s ability with the chore. As a mother, it is my natural instinct to worry about my children.

I knew this day would come, since the first moment the doctor exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” My son’s first love was a tractor in any shape or form. He spent countless hours “farming” in his sandbox or building intricate farms with his little tractors. His favourite reading

material has always been tractor magazines.

My son has been trailing behind his father since he could walk, and longingly watched the farm equipment every time it went to the field.

He is a farm boy through and through. As he has gotten older, his farm duties have increased. My husband would often remind me that “at our son’s age” he was doing far more on the farm, but we were determined to let our children be kids a little longer. But slowly he has learned how to operate some of the machinery and loves every minute of it.

So why was I shocked when this day arrived? I guess it is just the “mom” in me.

When I got to the field with lunch, I watched the combine as it devoured the swath. My son looked so small in that giant machine. I cringed as he neared the end of the row. Could he make the turn? Remember to lift the header? But he did, carefully and expertly. I watched as he pulled up alongside the grain truck. Surely he would wait for my husband to help him unload the hopper. Wrong again. The golden grain poured out of the spout as my son inched the combine forward, spreading it evenly into the truck box.

That is the moment I realized that he is capable, and sadly, growing up. With a wide grin he waves to me, proud of his ability. My husband, as promised, had taught him well. Part of me wants to keep him a child a little longer, but I know I need to let him grow up. I began to see him as the young man he is becoming. For a farm boy this is his rite of passage, and truly a dream come true.

– Tanya Unrau writes from Boissevain, Manitoba

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