Who will you be, baby of mine?

(Journal photo by Lacey Vilhauer.)

The days are slowly counting down until my husband and I will welcome our first baby­–a boy––in June. It will be a hectic time with wheat harvest, but a new baby takes precedence.

Lacey Vilhauer

I’m nervous and excited at the same time, but lately my thoughts have been centered on who little Elijah will become when he grows up. What will he look like? Will he be blonde like me, and will he inherit my husband’s button nose? What will his personality be like, and what will he want to be when he grows up?

Certainly, I hope Eli will develop a love for the farm at a young age. It makes me smile thinking about him begging to ride in the tractor or itching to go feed cows with his dad in the wintertime. I hope he talks in his sleep about killing kochia weeds and dreams about his plans for crop rotations. I hope it makes his day to see an earthworm under his soil residue, working its magic in his field.

I hope he goes to God in prayer when the crops need rain and praises the Lord when he is blessed with a bumper crop. I hope he feels a thrill sitting in the combine and watching the wheat or sorghum come through the header—in the good years and the bad. I hope he takes over Vilhauer Farms one day and becomes the seventh generation to farm this Oklahoma ground. I hope he does all these things, just like his daddy—the most dedicated farmer I know.

Most kids who grow up on the farm develop an affection for agriculture as children, but those who enter it as a profession have to live and breathe it. They must find contentment in the hard labor, long hours and the uncertainties of fluctuating markets and unpredictable weather.

It takes incredible fortitude and commitment to succeed as a farmer or rancher. There is no phoning it in or showing up for a 40-hour work week just to collect a paycheck. This is a hard life in many ways, but those who farm do it because they find joy in the challenges of growing a crop or raising livestock, and they wouldn’t be happy anywhere else.

I hope that’s Eli, but I can’t hold him to that if he has other desires. Knowing the sacrifices farmers make every day, I would not want him to start farming if he didn’t have a passion for it. If he wants to pursue another profession, we as his parents will support him, no matter what. He may want to drive a race car or run for political office—which actually scares me more than him in a race car.

One comfort I have is that no matter who or what he grows up to be, I know raising him on the farm and teaching him the value of hard work and dedication will influence his work ethic with wherever life leads him. The farm is ready for him if he chooses this life, and if Eli is anything like his daddy, there’ll be no place he’d rather be.

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].