Life on our franch is unpredictable. So, there are days when we don’t make it out the front gate as planned. Other times, we actually do make it beyond our fence, but it’s way later than intended. It’s humbling for us as parents because we teach our children the importance of promptness and how changing plans last minute is disrespectful of others. We also lecture our children to accept responsibility and offer simple apologies for doing wrong without giving excuses. We discourage “I’m sorry, but…” in our home. Yet, my husband and I are often apologizing and giving excuses for being tardy and changing plans after something unexpected happens on the franch. One day, dinner wasn’t ready for out-of-town guests because we spent the entire afternoon walking our colicky horse in circles. Our daughter missed basketball practice when our cow was noticeably in labor (and we didn’t want to miss the birth!). We were well over an hour late meeting friends at the town plaza for the Christmas event because we first needed to chase and catch all 15 of our chickens (who hadn’t yet gone in the coop on their own for the night). I missed a school meeting because I was hauling a calf we sold to its new home. Then, there’s the one time the children and I missed church while my husband was deployed because our sick dog, who was happy to see me, wagged his diarrhea-soaked tail and I didn’t get out of the way in time. Once the children were late for school because the cows were found grazing on the wrong side of the fence during morning chores. Unfortunately, we had to cancel a weekend getaway reservation when we were off on due dates and our goat unexpectedly gave birth to twins the night before. Sometimes, these excuses elicit a laugh from the offended party having never heard anything quite like it. Usually, there are just stares of disbelief in response to our excuses. Occasionally, my integrity is questioned with a suspicious response similar to, “And, did your dog eat your homework too?” Well, I know I’m not practicing what I preach to my children with all these examples of excuses for being late or missing events. I’m really sorry, but we live on a franch.