Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Farm

The house feels different this weekend - there is a space, a void where the words and noise and laughter of our eldest usually dwell. My baby boy, Lewis, who will turn seven at the end of the month, is away visiting his grandparents in the city. Nana drove down to pick him up and take him home with her  - a 900km round trip. She is taking him to watch a football game before they head out to their farm for a night and then drive south again on Monday, a public holiday here. He will be away for three nights - the longest we have ever been apart.

His tooth fell out the night before he left. That mark of passage from infancy to childhood. It was like a sign that he was ready for the separation - and he left with a gap toothed smile and a delightful lisp.

We don't get to visit the farm much these days, but spent many happy days there before we moved back to the south coast. We lived on a farm just over the hill, in a 100-year-old mud-brick farmhouse, when I was first pregnant with Lewis.

I was 19 years old when my parents bought their farm. It was the realisation of a dream they had put to one side when my Papa sold his farm when my brother was a baby. Life on the land was swapped for a suburban existence for the length of our childhood. But the farm is where they are most happy and at peace. And it is a magic place for little boys. Lewis will be gathering freshly laid eggs for breakfast and driving around the paddock checking on the new calves.

Darcy and Quinn play differently when Lewis is not here. It is a different dynamic. A chance for them to grow. But there will be much joy and silliness when they reunite. "Yo Yo? Yo Yo dere?" Quinn has started to ask incessantly whenever his big brother (Lew-Lew) is away. We will drive north to the edge of the wheatbelt to meet for lunch in a tiny farming hamlet and collect our boy tomorrow.

Lewis and his Nana on the farm six years ago

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