She, my daughter, this amazing young woman next to me, helped raise this beast. She fed him and moved him to fresh pastures. She named him “Bud” because he was the small little calf that came forth into the world compliments of the power and determination of his beautiful mama, “Daisy”. And everyone knows a young flower is a bud.
She was also there when we shot him. Under a forest canopy, on the green grass he was born on and to the birdsong, his lifelong accompaniment, that sang him away. And she was there while we whispered our goodbyes and gratitude for the four years he gave to this land, his herd, and to us.
And now, she’s here, standing by me and her Pops. Cutting meat with us while we talk about heart tartare, a baby Leopard frog that ran over her foot this morning, our four escaped meat rabbits. We listen to old ‘70s rock tunes that she knows all the words to.
We marvel at lymph nodes, fascia, and kidneys while butchering. And, as we must, we celebrate with good food. In this case, fatty braised and smoked pork ribs with preserved lemons and a pan of liver cooked with smoked pork jowl and great dollops of ghee.
If you have a better way for me to spend my time, you’ve got a long road of convincing ahead of you. But don’t bother. This life of ours is one we worked for. Deliberate in the making. And my dreams shouldn’t look like yours, and yours should be spectacularly beautiful and exclusive to you. We don’t have to be the same and that shouldn’t feel dangerous. When we are strong and centred in ourselves, we don’t need agreement or praise. We’re not so easily shaken.
That’s what we raised our daughters to carry out into the world. It’s not easy raising children to be strong and confident but the alternative, well, that’s no alternative at all.
We have enough shaky egos in the world.
Her boyfriend returned home from a summer vacation today. He asked to see her. She told him she couldn’t because she “wanted to help” her parents with butchering. We didn’t ask. She didn’t tell until I asked her why she wasn’t with him. That’s the kind of kids I have. That’s the kind of young humans I get to know and adore.