parent opinion

'To my darling kids, I know this drought is hard. But one day, it will all be worth it.'

To my beautiful darlings,

I’m sorry I get so cranky. I honestly try not to but when I have to repeat myself several times and I’ve got jobs I need to get done, well… it drives me mad when you don’t listen. To be ignored is really frustrating, and it feels like you don’t respect me. I’m nobody’s doormat, I’ll have you know, and if you don’t want a cranky mum, then you’ll need to start thinking about how you can help more around the place…

Wait — it’s not your fault. How old are you? Eight? Six? That’s pretty young. We probably expect way too much from you. It’s just that your dad and I have so much to do. You know it’s always busy on the farm — there’s always things that need to be done. But honestly, this drought has made our workload enormous, hasn’t it?

Watch: Lucy shares the day the drought became all too much.

Video by Channel 10

You know it’s not just shovelling cottonseed to the cows or dragging the red feed trailer around to keep the sheep happy. It’s all that being on the phone to people, trying to buy grain and hay from far-away places like Victoria or South Australia, and it’s juggling money so that we can pay for it. It’s checking that all the animals have water to drink, because in this heat that’s so important, right?

Do you remember what it was like to have nice grass to walk on with your bare feet? Or what it was like to not have to feed your pony every day? You know old Charlie appreciates it, because he whinnies at you when he sees you with your heavy bucket of yummy food. It’s a shame we’re always too busy to ride him, and that we had to miss out on Pony Camp this year, but at least he’s healthy and happy.

Do you remember when the hills were green? Look at them now, all red-brown and bare, with trees that look dry and thirsty… Take a photo in your mind, darlings, because one day it’ll all be different. You’ll look back and be amazed at the way the land can transform. It’s like a wild animal, you know, and all we can do is respect it and love it. We do love it, although sometimes it feels like it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but that’s like any strong relationship – you stick together through thick and thin, always respecting and always loving.

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So, if you’re wanting to tell me a story about what so-and-so said at school about whatever, you’ll have to tell me while we get some jobs done – it’s the way it has to be. We simply don’t have the luxury of sitting on the lounge and relaxing whenever we want to. Don’t get me wrong, if you really need me to sit on the lounge with you and talk, then we’ll do that because you are at the centre of my universe. But for everyday stuff, we need to talk while we walk.

Image: Lilly at Dawn Photography.

Do you know you made my heart melt when you told me that all you wanted for Christmas was rain? You said it so impulsively as we drove from the house to the bus stop, looking out across the sad, thirsty paddocks. But don’t worry, I’ve seen the wish lists for Santa, stuck on the fridge with magnets – all three pages!

Your dad and I are trying so hard to raise you the right way. We give you loads of hugs and kisses and tell you that we love you, and I make you promise that you’ll always hold my hand and you promise that you always will… except when the school bus is coming and everyone can see. You’re so smart and funny and beautiful, and I’m so proud of you – in case I’ve been too busy to tell you that.

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When you’ve grown up and flown the coup, you’ll know all about hard work, teamwork, problem-solving and facing challenges with your back straight and your head held high. It’ll all be worth it, my darlings, and you’ll look back on your childhood with a warm, proud smile. We want you to remember a fun childhood, not one that’s forever etched in your minds as sad with a stressed-out mum. So, I’ll make an effort if you make an effort, okay?

Love always, Mum x

Lucy Gallagher is an aspiring novelist. She’s also a wife, mother of two gloriously wild kids, farmer and Registered Nurse. Lucy had never shared much on Facebook, however late one night in July 2018, she anxiously hit the 'post' button after writing about her family’s experience of the drought. In the following days, it was shared nearly 8000 times. The outpouring of support that followed and the fact that it resonated with so many, gave her the kickstart she needed to write more… you can check out her blog at: Facebook - The Farm Love.

READ MORE:
19 of the best products you can buy to help rural businesses battling the drought.

Featured image: Lilly at Dawn Photography.

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