The time had finally come for the 7-8’s trip to the MCS farm. This first trip to the Catskills with your peers is a big day at MCS and one for which you are well prepared. As you walked out the front door of the school alongside your best friend, you were smiling and confident.
For over a year you’d been anticipating being away from home for two nights and three days. “But Mommy, I don’t want to be away from you … What if I don’t like the food? … I only like your cooking … Maybe I just won’t eat for three days … and the barn chores … I don’t like getting dirty … I hope I get sick the day we’re supposed to leave … or maybe I can refuse to get on the bus and just sit with Lorraine in the school lobby.”
It was about three weeks ago when John, who has run the farm for over 30 years and is one of the 12 on-site staff members, came to speak with your class about what you could expect and answer any of your questions. Afterwards you came home with a totally new perspective. “Mommy, I’m actually really looking forward to the farm now. I’m not worried anymore. Plus, John told us about all the good food we’ll be eating — french toast, pancakes, my favorite MCS bacon and fresh maple syrup that they actually make there!”
John also spoke to the parents that morning, presenting a slideshow of students at the farm throughout the years, during all four seasons. “Graduating students of MCS often say, that yes, they learn about farming, agriculture, textiles and where their food and water sources come from, but what matters most in the end is how the farm changes them with each trip — 17 in total before graduation! — and the tight-knit friendships they make.” I was so moved by the slideshow — jealous even! — as I sat thinking about the precipice on which you are standing; the incredible seven-year journey that begins with this first trip!
How wonderful that you and Thomas were bus mates! As your best friend, he was your first request and watching the two of you prepare to board the bus together was moving for both his mom and me. In your backpack was your travel chess set, a sketchbook and drawing supplies, word search books, your rubix cube and Mad Libs to entertain the two of you during the 3 1/2 hour ride. When you learned I had sent along two disposable cameras, you asked if you could share one of them with Thomas. But of course sweet boy.
Good-bye wasn’t so difficult since we both knew you’d have the best time. You were strong, confident and ready. We shared a big hug (thanks to Thomas’s mom for the capture!) and then it was Grey’s turn. He was the one who had a difficult time with your departure. It wasn’t easy for him to watch the bus pull off knowing he wouldn’t see his big brother for a few days. Before returning to Paulo’s classroom, we stole a few minutes in the school bathroom to recover and wipe away the tears.
Final wave good-bye!
[ Slideshow of farm photos ]
Although John jokingly told parents, “What happens at the farm, stays at the farm!”, on the second day we all received an email from the teachers with some wonderful photos.
Apparently you were greeted with both rain and beautiful sunshine! There was plenty of outdoor exploration, which ran the gamut of frog catching, investigating the farmyard, petting hens, splashing around in the stream and jumping in piles of hay! There were barn chores — milking cows and cleaning stalls — and house chores that included cooking a complete farm-raised meal with Gaby and a full sampling of farm classes comprised of weaving with Donna, a nature hike with Annie and Lacey, and a lesson in gardening with Cathy. Also on the schedule was LOTS of free play! To me, the campfire looked especially fun! Bring on the s’mores!
When you returned that Friday you looked a bit like a zombie. Though tired from the long bus ride and the adventure itself, you were excited to be back and tell us about everything you did. You never felt homesick, the food was as AMAZING as you expected (fresh milk and eggs!) and you learned so much about the workings of the farm.
“And how was it getting dirty?” I asked.
“Oh yeah Mom, so I just pretended all the poop was just dirt. Cause there’s poop EVERYWHERE!! And when I did that I was fine.”
Already the farm is changing you Cash! Now this is what you call living your best life as city and country boy! You are 100% ready for next year’s even longer trips to the farm!
I love you so very much!
Always and forever, Mom