Finding Strength In Weakness

I started this blog post almost a month ago. I’m so on the ball. I figured better late than never, right?!

Eight days ago we were finally able to start planting, nearly two months later than our normal start date. It’s safe to say that this past week has been anything but smooth. We have been on an 8 day grind, putting in full 18 to 20 hours a days in an attempt to get caught up. And, let me tell you, when I say 18-20 work days, I’m not ah kidding! These are the kind of days that when you hit the floor, you hit the floor running and you don’t stop until your body can’t physically take anymore! It is exhausting, demanding, sometimes back breaking work. It definitely takes a toll on your mental status as well.

Yesterday morning we caught a small shower and that gave us a few hours to catch up on some machinery repairs and access the damage to the fleet from the first “grind” of the season. Then last night we received some pretty significant rains and that allowed us to finally catch up on some sleep. Yippie!! I think we were all able to get in a full 8 hours of quality winks. : ) Sad part is, now I think I’m more tired than I was before! Isn’t it crazy how that works?!

As I was laying in bed that very stormy  morning with my husband, we were chit chatting back and forth about the weeks events and things we needed to do to get ready for the next run, and I just couldn’t believe how much this insane week has made me love my husband SO much more! It kind-of-in-a-way (yep, round here that’s one word) was a real eye opener! We’ve been through a lot, our “fair share” , you could say. We’ve had our highs, we’ve had our lows, but as crappy as this week has been, we’ve been there of each other and our appreciation for one another has grown tremendously! This got me to thinking about what makes farm families so strong.

It’s not often you hear of farm families divorcing, fighting, or children leaving the farm. Sure, it’s out there, but for the most part, farm families are incredibly close knit.

My mother-in-law teases, “at the times in our marriage when I thought about divorcing your Dad, (my father-in-law) I couldn’t even do it because we didn’t  even have near enough money to pay for the dang lawyer.” This statement always cracks me up. But sadly, there is some truth to it. No money just means you get to sit and think about it longer. I suppose after a while you figure out how to fix your problems and then go on. : )  You might not believe how many farmers I’ve heard a statement similar to this, come from.

Farm life can do one of two things to a marriage, make it stronger or split it completely apart.  There is not ONE single thing that easy about keeping a farm family going! The stress, the unpredictibilty, the lack of a cash flow, the demanding hours, the mountains of money it takes to operate, the endless breakdowns, raising kids, bills, little league, parent-teacher conferences, 4H, FFA, school programs, bugs, fungus, weeds,  no rain, too much rain, hail, high winds, tornados, marketing, preplanning, maintaining equipment and grounds, markets, animals, mother nature, etc…. the list goes on and on and on. These are a few of our DAILY challenges, challenges  that would leave most people running away from a farms as fast as they could with their tail tucked between their legs! It is VERY MUCH not for everyone. A lot more than I ever expected when I married a farmer.

Most of the time, those big stressers  rest on my husbands shoulders. For the first years of our marriage, he keep a lot of that stress to himself. I was oblivious to the amount of stress he was caring on his shoulders. As time when on, I would ask more questions and hear lots of answers that were VERY hard to swallow. I was raised on a “farm”, or so I thought. My family owned a section of land, but were more of a hobby farm than anything. I realize that now. The more  questions I asked, the more I learned and the more I realized how much he had to deal with, I knew I need to help him more, but with young kids, that was easier said than done.  I realized too, that  it’s just too much stress for one family member to handle alone. Now that the kids are getting older, it is easier to help out, and I know he appreciates it tremendously! I cook for the help (usually a group of 10), pay all the bills, keep up with contracts and landlords, records, run parts, and move guys around. I’ve even ventured as far as learning to drive some equipment. And now my husband tells me that I do enough worrying for both of us so he doesn’t have to anymore. Lol! But the weight is more evenly distributed. He’s still carrying the most of it, but if feels good to know he needs me.

As every year goes by I can read his mind more and more, I guess that’s what makes us a good team. On our farm we hate to see each other struggle, so we all chip in and get the job done. It really is a ‘group effort.’  And honestly, think that is where the strength comes in! If you see someone busting their butt around here you don’t ask IF you can help, you just start helping. We are forced into helping one another to achieve our goals. We  know, if we don’t all chip in, it’s going to very painful on one person, and seeing one person struggle shows us we’re not doing a good enough job.

The reward of seeing our family work together is showing our children what teamwork is all about. It empowers our family, and it teaches the kids, that no matter what, we are in it together! It is our Godly duty to love one another and never wish to see another person struggle.

As for my husband and I, we are both fully aware that we are fighting the same battle, fighting all things that are, “Against The Grain”  and I think that is what makes us so strong! We don’t have time to fight each other, we’re busy fighting bugs, weed, weather, rain, droughts, breakdowns, markets, bills……Keeping the wolf away from the door, as my Grandpa would say.  If my husband has a bad day, I’m right there asking,” what I can do to help? How can I make better? What would you like for supper? How can I help?”  And, if I’m having a bad day he says, “want me to call Mom and see if she can watch the kids?’ (In a totally, “I love you, but I can’t handle the kids on my own all day and get anything done accomplished” kind of way) But, we get each other! We complement each others weaknesses, and I must say  that I love that about our marriage!

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?!?

The reason for this post??? I ran across this picture the other day on a social media site and I instantly knew I had to blog about it. : )

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It took me 2 months to  finish it. It’s late. It’s short. It’s poorly edited but,  It’s done.

I hope you enjoyed it.

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One response to “Finding Strength In Weakness

  1. Well put! I agree, it really is a group effort for farm families and complementing each other. We’re in the middle of wheat harvest here in Kansas right now, and it’s neat to experience working as a team to get the crop harvested while getting other crops in the ground, the irrigation started, maintaining sanity, etc.. If more families shared annual events that test individuals while finding success by being on the same side just think what the world would be like!

    Good luck with the planting! Just remember: before you know it it’ll be time to go to the State Fair 🙂

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