”I can't wait to continue to grow up with you” is what I wrote in his scrapbook on his 1st birthday, and I have. He was the person that challenged me to shift from the desire to always strive for more to the ability to sit still and appreciate what is right in front of me.
Right after his 1st birthday, while I was away for work, he learned to walk. When I left he was a baby in arms, and when I returned, he was a toddler to chase.
At the time, I was the primary breadwinner, and my sense of self was incredibly wrapped up in my career. How could I give up financial stability and ego just for him?
The call that had been there from the moment he was first in my arms and never left me, and now it was haunting every thought.
The math didn't make sense on paper, and the idea didn't settle well with everyone, but a few short months later in an act of faith, I woke up with a new role, keeper of the home & full-time mother.
That became a season of rest and renewal for me that I didn’t even know I needed. Layers of protection pulled around me like a warm blanket. I hadn't just done it for him; I had also done it for me.
We had more kids, again and again and again and later, once again. I had done it for them too.
My marriage was strengthened in ways that allowed Nathan and I to become coworkers. I had done it for us.
We would be called as a family to use our farm in service and Carter would commit to full-time farming, knowing good and well how hard it is. I did it for community and the future of our food system too.
It’s only now that I can clearly see all the things the sacrifice was for, but I'd do it all again, just for him.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist