This is a monumental week at our house. Yes, basketball practice starts but that is not it. We should have everything buttoned down and in place for the winter and while that makes me happy that is not it either. This week, Wednesday to be exact, Jennifer and I celebrate twenty years of wedded bliss. OK, so it has been twenty years of wedded bliss farmer style.
The very day of our anniversary is probably a shining example of what is like to be married to me. The morning will be a rush to get chores done before she goes off to work and I take off for the Governor’s Water Conference. I will try to check in that night as I rush on to Session meeting at our church leaving Jennifer in charge of chores for the night. We farmers are incredible romantics.
However, it is not much different than what she has come to expect over the past two decades. Quiet nights at home are often interrupted by a crisis of some sort. A tough day at work, yes, the very same work that most farm wives must go to. It is mandated that we have health insurance. As I was saying a tough day at work when all she can think of doing is falling back into her chair and relaxing. Only to have me meet her at her car and ask her to help me get the cows back in.
Then there are those mornings during lambing season when the alarm goes off extra early so we can go out and check ewes before she spends eight hours at her other fulltime job. Luckily there are weekends. Yeah right, weekends when you are married to a farmer are far from relaxing. Chores and projects are never ending around the farm and farmer husbands are always needy when it comes to weekends.
At least she gets vacation days at work. Workers are given vacation days as a time to recharge and get away; that is unless you are married to a farmer. Then your leave time is spent working calves, hauling cows to pasture and building fence. If you do get away there will be many farm related stops thrown in.
The most difficult part of being a farm wife is knowing that the farm comes first. Everything must wait until the end of the year. Whether or not the kitchen gets remodeled or the car gets traded off is at the whimsy of the weather and the markets. We all know that good years are few and far between. It is not fair, but that is the way farming is. Too often she has heard, “well maybe next year will be better and we can do…..”
There are long hours during lambing, calving, planting, haying and harvest. Often I am out the door early and back late. Projects that need to be done are often tagged with “I will do it on the next rainy day.” It is really funny how often we are in a prolonged drought. At least that is what one would think if those projects were really waiting on the next rainy day.
I am not sure if this is what Jennifer signed up for twenty years ago. I do know that she has went back and looked at the fine print of our wedding vows and found out that picking up rocks was not part of the deal. She also often wonders out loud when the richer part is going to get here too. Lord knows the better and worse parts of those vows have cycled through. Farming is all about the highs and lows.
I think she might be able to get me for false advertisement. I am sure I might have oversold the whole farming is a wonderful lifestyle thing during our courtship. I know this because the subject has been brought up from time to time. Like all farm wives I know Jennifer deserves more and better and I am certain there is a special place in heaven reserved just for farm wives.
To be honest I am not sure why she has put up with me or the farm for the past twenty years. I am not sure which is more frustrating (I think I know but I am afraid to ask; only one of us has increased in value). All I know is that I feel incredibly blessed to have spent the twenty years with her and I cannot imagine this crazy life without her. I am not sure what the next twenty will bring (I am sure they will be better) but I know they won’t be dull.