Here we are again, nearing the height of the spring season, and things are about to get crazy. But this isn’t our first rodeo, we know what’s coming and won’t break a sweat.
Here’s the thing though. We’ve gotten tougher, smarter and more independent because that’s what this way of life forces you to do.
But we didn’t start here. Even if you can’t recall the last time you fell in a heap on the floor in a mess of tears over cold dinners, missed dates, endless mud, or a damn appliance you can’t get fixed by yourself at 10 p.m. on a Thursday night during harvest. Even if you don’t remember, you were there. I was there.
We didn’t start this way. We started with soft hands, soft hearts and some sort of romantic expectation of what it meant to marry into farm life.
With every spring planting, fall harvest, winter calving, rain, drought, break down, mess-up, we’ve gotten tougher. Smarter. Stronger.
But we can’t forget where we started because there is a girl coming behind you that needs your grace. Maybe she’s marrying your brother, your neighbor or someday your son.
She’s going to show up with those same expectations we did and she’s going to feel the sting of reality, just like we did.
She’s going to wipe her eyes and look around and see that she’s surrounded by women who don’t break a sweat when farm life hits and she’s going to want to run. She’s going to tell herself she can’t, she won’t, she never will.
She will assume those women surrounding her were always that way. That they were just born with grit.
And when that happens and she’s convinced herself she messed up, she can’t do it... we have two choices.
We can go to our circle, bash that girl and tell ourselves we were in fact born this way and that she isn’t tough enough, wasn’t raised right, is entitled or selfish or just not meant for the farm.
Or we can put a hand out and pull her up. We can give her a break. We can tell her it’s OK. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to do farm life different than your neighbors and your in-laws. It’s OK to need time to get it figured out.
It’s OK because we did that to. Even if we’ve forgotten all about it.
A farm wife still figuring it out
P.S. Penned in response to a woman’s online and very public rant towards her daughter-in-law that made me very grateful for the kind, grace giving MIL I was blessed with.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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