I’m sure by now you’ve all witnessed the birth of Oliver and April’s baby boy. This adorable calf was born at the Animal Adventure Park in New York last Saturday just as Hoosiers were rising and shining. According to Google, there were 232 million live views of this delivery for a total of 7.6 billion minutes of live watch-time! It was over a hot cup of coffee that I watched April’s 5’9”, 129 pound newborn take his first wobbly walk within an hour of being born. How miraculous is that? Those unsteady strides were literally two steps forward and one step back as this confident calf was determined to get back up and try, try again.
I have no idea why, but this scenario took me waaaay back to a time when I was about three years old. This in and of itself is a mini-miracle because my memory is horrible! But, I vividly remember living in a small farmhouse out in the country one spring when my family was planting a small vegetable garden. I’m sure as a threenager that my attempt at ‘helping’ wasn’t all too helpful. But, I wanted to be part of the action. I was intrigued by all of the
seeds and bulbs and was really digging the dirt. Although I can’t say whose idea it was to distract me, I can tell you that their strategy was brilliant. I was told that I could plant these very special bulbs if I promised to plant them properly. It was then that they showed me the many layers of planting an onion. The basket of onion bulbs was placed at one end of the garden. I was told that all I had to do was grab one onion bulb and squeeze it between my toes as I carried it all the way down to the end of the garden row; then I could plant it. I know it sounds absurd, but this repetitive process kept a three-year-old gardener happily occupied until my family got the full garden planted! As a toddler with an onion bulb gripped with all the strength my toes could muster, I hobbled down the garden row with one good foot. I’m sure April’s offspring and I both looked like we’d fail a field sobriety test. Determination is a strong force than can’t be reckoned with.
Of course, as every farmer knows, the sowing of the seeds is only the beginning, then there’s a pregnant pause. Sure, during that time there’s a lot of weeding and watering, but a long pause like this has a fruitful ending that makes it worth the wait.
As a teacher for the majority of my life, I equate this pause to a semicolon. Stick with me here, this isn’t just an English lesson—I promise. Semicolons are the perfect cross between a comma and a period. They represent more of a pause than a regular comma, but they don’t serve as the stop sign at the end of a sentence like a period—it’s like the punctuation version of “But wait, there’s more”!
If you think about it like a teeter totter the semi-colon sits in the middle of a sentence like the fulcrum that balances each side nicely. Therefore each side of the sentence could stand on its own, but it’s really better together. If you’ve ever had anyone jump off their side of the teeter totter when you were on it, you know what I mean here!
Gardening is a real-life example of a semicolon in action. We plant the seeds; then we wait for the harvest. The semicolon reminds us, “But wait, there’s more!” Sure, some people plant and give up. They don’t like toiling trouble. It’s too hot to weed. We’re too tired to water. In this world of instant gratification, the wait simply feels enormous and we give up. We quit. We place a period at the end of our sentence instead of all the possibilities that a semicolon can bring.
Grant County could have easily placed a period at the end of our sentence when Thomson closed or when we learned the number of children living in poverty in our community. It would have been easy to give up, call it a day, and say that’s how our story ended. But, I can tell you with my whole heart that there are hundreds, even thousands, of people who don’t accept that as our story’s end. Instead, they’re embracing the semicolon. Sure, our history is important. It’s given us grit and makes us who we are. But, on the other side of the semicolon, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story.
I’m thankful that our donors are willing to donate to endowments that will help Grant County plan for our future instead of managing the decline like so many other communities across the country. I’m proud of so many citizens coming forward to be a part of Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County as we work together to thwart poverty and intentionally focus on how we can thrive.
Sowing seeds for a better future today, so we can reap a bountiful harvest tomorrow is hard work, but truly a labor of love for the place we call home. Only this labor of love isn’t being viewed by 232 million people like April and the birth of her yet-to-be-named baby giraffe. But, that doesn’t mean that no one is watching us. In fact, Grant County has 14,180 children waiting to see how the adults in their lives are working to make things better for their future. The potential on the other side of our semicolon is unlimited. And, now we get to write the rest of the story.