Corn harvest started last week and I will admit, I wasn’t prepared for it. My farmer had told me that when corn harvest starts, it’s common for him to not come home until midnight or even sometimes later. At the time, I thought, what’s 2 hours…? I’ve successfully made it through nights where I didn’t see hide nor hair of my farmer until 10 p.m., I can do midnight… Well, I did, for about a week.. And then it happened..
It was Sunday and I was barely getting out of bed before my farmer was out the door for the day. It was around 9:00 AM, so I got up and stayed busy for most of the day. And then 10 p.m. rolled around.. There’s only so much you can do until 10 p.m. at night. Dishes were done, laundry was caught up, house was tidy. It hit me. It had been over 12 hours since I’d seen my farmer. I mean even for 5 minutes. Being that it was so late at night, most of my girlfriends here have children so they were at home with their kiddos or even in bed themselves… It hit me hard, for the first time since I’d been here.
I felt alone. Really truly alone. I know it was a combination of many things and what it is about 10 o’clock at night that gets your mind racing..? I missed my farmer, I missed my family, and I was missing California. It was like a triple whammy. The love of my life and best friend was gone all day, my dear mother is no longer a quick car ride away, and I can’t call up my friends and meet them at my favorite bar/lounge in Downtown Chico.
Now I don’t want this to be an oh poor Jenny sob story. That’s not why I am writing this. Call me emotional, call me naive, call me whatever. But I know many of you out there have experienced this feeling. You’ve been in my shoes, some maybe in more ways than others. Gave up your life somewhere to start a life with a farmer. Left things you loved in order to build a future with something else you really love. And really, that’s the beauty of social media. It allows women like us, women who “get” what it’s like to live life with a farmer to connect. It gives us a constant way to support one another. At any given time, there could be a handful of women out there who are willing to say to me, “hey, I understand what you are going through”.
Sometimes all it takes to make us feel better and get us out of feeling sorry for ourselves is someone we can identify with. Someone who’s been in our shoes and tell us it will be okay. And someone who can remind us of all the good things about our chosen lifestyle. Farming is not just a career, it’s a lifestyle. It consumes so much more of your life than a 9-5. And I will admit, not everybody is cut out for it. I’ve already seen that. But I stepped into this lifestyle knowing that these nights were going to happen. When I chose to let myself fall head over heels in love with my farmer, I spent a few nights asking myself… “Jenny, can you really do this?” I knew it wasn’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows.. There would be nights alone, there would be long days and long nights, there would be days where my farmer is out of sorts due to his crops, and at times I would be the one solely responsible for our household, and when we have children… There will be sometimes that I literally feel like a single parent. And guess what, my family isn’t here to take my kids when I need them to, I don’t have a sister or Mom right down the road. Mine are a plane ride away. These are the hard truths about the decisions I’ve made.
But I jumped anyway.. You know why..? Because in the scheme of things, those things don’t matter as much to me as the blessings that I truly have in life now. My farmer is beyond words amazing. We are building a career and a life together. And quite frankly, I couldn’t have asked for someone better suited to me than him. He’s got a family that is just as amazing and supportive. Some people search a whole lifetime and never find those things. I have made some wonderful girlfriends here who totally “get” how I feel, and when I am feeling physically really alone, I have a whole network of farming wives and girlfriends just a click away. I can’t imagine how women that homesteaded so long ago made it… Without any sort of social network, I think I’d have gone crazy. But their love and passion for their life, their family, and even their husbands ran strong. They were strong willed, dedicated, tough, but also compassionate and full of love. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “behind every hard working man, there is an even harder working woman”. I’d have to say multiply that ten-fold for farm wives over the years.
So what do you do to keep yourself from going crazy…? Well, I love to cook, it motivates me and gives me purpose. And I will admit, since I haven’t been having to feed my farmer during harvest, I haven’t been cooking. I hopped on Pinterest yesterday and I got inspired. So even though my farmer may not be home to eat my cooking, it doesn’t mean I can’t freeze it and enjoy it on a night when he IS home. And since I kept busy cooking while he was gone, I can spend that evening WITH him instead of in the kitchen cooking. Score! I love to craft and do artsy things. One of my favorite things to do is make cards… I find myself sometimes last minute scrambling to make a card up for a certain occasion. So I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some new scrapbooking paper to inspire myself to make some cards. That way when I need a homemade card for a certain occasion (birthday, even Christmas, Congrats, etc.) I have some already made and to choose from. And I am keeping my mind busy with something I love to do while I am home alone late at night.
I could go on and on and on with things I could come up with to do. I guess I am fortunate enough that I love to be creative and I have a vast array of hobbies. But sometimes, you just lose motivation. And once you lost motivation, your mind starts to wander. And then you end up in that place, feeling sorry for yourself, feeling alone, and forgetting how good your life really is. It’s easy to hold onto anger, bitterness, and negativity in life. I could so easily be angry at my farmer for leaving me for so long. But what good does that do..? Instead, I can love him for working so hard for us. I can admire the fact that he inspires me with his passion for his career. I can respect him for working so hard and know that someday he will instill those good values into our children. You see the beauty life yields when you turn away from the negativity…?
Bottom line is it doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for one year or twenty years, I’d still venture to guess that farm wives sometimes still struggle with those “hard nights” every once in a while. And sometimes it’s good to know that you aren’t alone in how you feel. Someone out there has been in your shoes. And guess what, the internet makes it so much easier for us to all connect. Amen to that! Nobody ever said loving a farmer was easy… But I bet you the majority of women out there who fell in love with farmers and decided to make the leap will tell you they never regret it.
So tell me, if you’re a farm wife or girlfriend, how do you manage those “hard nights”..? What do you like to do to stay busy..? What’s been the best piece of advice ever given to you? I’d love to hear some stories from some farm women out there!