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This past week we had the privilege of working with our kids as we prepared to host a bicycle race at our farm. Chadwick drove from South Lake Tahoe, California, to compete in the event - a fun way to celebrate his 33rd birthday. McClendon and his wife, Yessika, also from California, came to cheer him on and just to hang out on the property.

For five days we got to spend time with those we don’t get to see very often. (If you have adult children who live far away, you know what I mean.) We had a blast eating dinners together, roasting marshmallows, reminiscing and laughing. And for three hours on Saturday all four of our children were here as we celebrated Chadwick’s birthday with brunch at the farm. Sure we missed the daughters-in-law and son-in-law that weren’t able to be here, but with a large family, you take what you can get!

The kids have always been interested in what we’re doing at the farm, but actually staying on the property for several nights gave them the opportunity to see it up close. They asked thoughtful questions and even offered helpful suggestions and resources. As Houston and I ticked through our to-do list in the days leading up to the race, our children pitched in wherever they were needed. They helped with daily chores - feeding and moving pigs, cleaning glamping tents and harvesting produce. Chadwick helped Houston anchor our hydroponic towers after they fell during last Friday’s windstorm.

They helped with logistics - figuring out the best way to do things as we got ready for the most people we’ve ever had on our farm. While the event was organized by Holland Racing - the same company that put on the State Criterion in June in downtown Corsicana - we had to prepare our property and make sure people had a place to park, that those who wanted to spend the night had a place to camp and that those who preordered produce were able to receive it. In the end, we had 92 riders, approximately 75 cars, 12 RV and tent camping sites and 11 orders for produce boxes.

Sunday morning arrived chilly, but sunny. While Chadwick prepared to race, McClendon helped Houston and our friend Jon direct parking. He also took photos and videos of the cyclists. Yessika gave produce to a rider and his family who were going to camp an additional night. But all of the kids extended the hospitality we wanted to show to the almost 150 guests.

The fact that our children are good humans was not lost on me this past week. At a time when we could have been overwhelmed and burdened, we instead experienced tremendous support and encouragement from those we love most.

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column “Finding Myself in a Small Town,” in the November 6, 2021 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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