The mother is the heart of the family, especially a stay-at-home-mother with a crew of kids, who also helps with a hobby farm. So tell me, why was I not missed after spending three hours locked in the chicken coop?
This is a funny story in hindsight. However, I was slightly upset because the experience battered my self-image. No one even noticed that I wasn’t in the house. Now granted, by this time all the kids attended school but still! You must first understand that even if this was a subconscious belief, I behaved as if I was THE most important member of the family. It took a drastic experience to shake me out of my arrogance.
Ten years ago on a very cold winter day, I decided to go with my husband to the barn. I bundled up in Michael’s extra set of warm boots and coat. Since I am a size 2 in women’s clothing and he is an X-Large in men’s sizes, I looked quite comical trudging after him to the barn. We divided up the chores and rushed to finish them as quickly as possible because the wind was fierce. My last task was to water, feed and gather eggs from our laying hens. Michael passed in the bucket of water that he had hauled for me and then left me so he could complete his own chores in the large attached barn. A few minutes later, out of sheer habit, he silently locked the door to the chicken coop and proceeded to plough through the heavy snow and into our warm house.
I was lingering with the chickens, scattering extra corn and grain to help the chickens keep warm. There was no wind in the coup but it was cold. When I attempted to leave, Michael had absent-mindedly locked the coop from the outside. I yelled for my husband but he was long gone and the house was too far away for him to hear me. The coop is old-fashioned and sturdy, built with thick, rough planks, so I could not figure out how to escape. Soon I began to stamp my feet in a vain attempt to generate a little heat. The chickens were upset, flapping about and squawking because I had intruded into their little haven. However, after the first hour, they ignored me and let me stomp around in my little circle. As I became even more chilled, I stuck my whole head down into Michael’s huge coat like a turtle hiding in her shell. My breath started to warm up my body. I must have looked like some strange headless man.
It was extremely boring in that coop, so I sang songs, much to the chickens’ displeasure. I did experience one flash of hope when I heard my oldest son drive up in his truck for lunch and then leave again; why he didn’t hear my yelling or wonder why I wasn’t around to make and eat lunch with his dad and him, still puzzles me.
Just as I was starting to despair, Michael flung the door open and asked, “What on earth are you doing out here?” I poked my head out from inside his coat and said, “I didn’t choose to hang out with the chickens, you know; YOU LOCKED ME IN HERE!” Michael had been so absorbed in his work that he really did not notice that I wasn’t in our large farm-house. As for lunch, he figured that I was taking a nap before the mob rushed through the door.
Guess what? The house did not fall apart without me and I wasn’t even missed until Michael answered a phone call for me. That put family life into perspective all right.
Photo Credit: frankenstoen.