Dec. 9 2020 09:30 AM

Today was a hard day on the farm, but with my young sons working with me, it was also wonderful.

Wow, it has been a long day. It has been a long, trying, terribly good bad day. It’s been one of those days where you walk in the house in nothing but your undies. As your bones creak and moan louder than the door, you toss your clothes in the wash with the history of the day still clinging to the fibers. Pain and exhaustion are one thing, but that extra project kind of work really sends it home! However, I wouldn’t change it because I did it with my boys.

My boys are growing up faster than I care to realize, yet slower than I expected. My expectations of them far surpass those I have set for the average man, and my sin is believing in such hocus pocus. I see how smart they are, yet I get so frustrated when they do seemingly dumb things I don’t understand. That is, until I look in the mirror and realize that the apple didn’t fall far. Heck, the dang thing didn’t even roll. It just splat right there at the stump!

These boys are so much like me in so many ways that I am still figuring out. Each thing they learn surprises me, and each victory they earn makes me proud. This was one of those days.

Today was headlock installation day, which meant the removal, prep, and install a ton of headlocks. The boys both have school still, but that didn’t stop them. In between their work, they jumped on to their virtual classroom to meet with their friends and teacher to learn the more textbook type stuff, and then they would jump right back out to learn the hands-on type of education.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., these boys were nonstop. They were not given busy work; they were given work that would have had to be done by myself or another adult. These kids were animals out there, thinking ahead, pushing through the pain of exhaustion like it wasn’t even there, and forward thinking about what the next step was going to be and how they could help.

Today they surprised me in ways that are hard to describe.

Tonight, I am a special kind of sore, and we are gearing up to do it all again tomorrow. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because I get to do it with them and alongside them. It’s worth it because I get to keep those memories close, as well as those of my wife bringing all of us burgers to eat on the tailgate of the truck. Plus, when momma comes, she brings the baby, and who doesn’t love little baby snuggles?

Today was perfect. A terribly awful, wonderfully perfect day.

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.