May 22, 2024

Baldwin: The spirit of the season

The rush is on as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ramps up. It seems like there’s never enough hours in the days or days in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

As a parent, small business owner, community member and farmer, there’s just a lot to accomplish immediately after washing the dishes from our Thanksgiving meal.

As a parent, keeping track of the Christmas parties and holiday-themed school days for my two young children requires organization and focus.

Throughout the year, I keep track of the “normal” school things that need to be done like the minutes we read nightly, the weekly spelling words needing attention at home and making sure the kids have their library books read and ready to return on their assigned library days.

But this month I’m hyper alert to knowing when “Ugly Christmas Sweater Day” is compared to when “Santa’s Ho-Ho-Hoedown Day” is to ensure my kids participate in at least some of their school’s countdown to Christmas Break spirit days — 15 themed spirit days in all.

One of my greatest fears this month has become the thought of sending the kids to school wearing their pajamas for “Dream a Little Dream Day” when they should be wearing a scarf for “Deck Your Neck Day” or forgetting to dig out Hawaiian shirts for “Christmas Vacation Day.”

I’ve concluded that if there are prizes for most spirited this month at school, the Baldwin kids probably won’t make the cut. I’ll consider it a win if I remember to send lunch money on the day the school serves their Christmas ham meal later this month.

On the farm, there’s a list of things we try to get done every December. Currently, that list has us trying to get fields fertilized before any potential snow falls.

This responsibility mainly falls on my husband as I dedicate my days fulfilling holiday orders and making multiple trips to the post office for our small business.

There are also parties, practices, community events, performances, games and top-secret shopping trips on my December calendar.

My December started out with an incredibly busy day, which transitioned into an equally busy evening consisting of shuttling kids from school to basketball practice and then home for showers and food, only to drive them back to town to practice their church Christmas program.

I was able to briefly catch my breath after handing the kids off to my husband before making my way to choir practice.

Getting home shortly before 9 o’clock that night, I collapsed on the couch ready to unwind from a busy, busy day. However, I got a phone call from my father-in-law instead.

It turned out my day was not done just yet. Instead, I put on my coveralls and headed out to the barn to watch over a ewe that had just lambed.

Peeking into the lambing pen that was now occupied by the ewe with its tiny, wet lamb with wobbly legs brought me a calm I had not experienced that day.

Under a clear, dark December sky with stars shining bright above us, a new mother with her newborn lying in a bed of straw reminded me of the true spirit of this season. And all was calm.

May you have at least one moment this month which causes you to pause amongst the holiday hustle and bustle in order to experience the true spirit of the season.

Kim Baldwin is a farmer in Kansas. She is a past president and current board member of her county Farm Bureau.