Every once in a while Kevin will tell me, “I’m sorry we don’t have a normal family life.” I always smile when he says that because I don’t think anyone has a ‘normal’ family life. On days like today our kids would rather we spend the entire day playing in the snow but we can’t because of our responsibilities to care for our livestock. Our family may not take long vacations or spend snowy weekends outside building snowmen but the one thing we do know how to do is laugh while we work! And on cold snowy nights like tonight, right before we come inside, we make time for a quick snowball fight in the dark! And as Kevin launches a snowball my direction he lovingly yells, “Look out Michelin Man!” I love our life, Kevin, even if it’s not normal!
When I was in high school, I had dreams of going to college and living in a city. I wanted nothing to do with living in the country, I wanted the bright lights of city life! It took about 6 months of college to make me realize how much I valued my life in a rural community. I grew up in a community where everyone waves at you when you drive down the street (even if you are a stranger) and most everyone knows your name. When I went to college, I realized very quickly that waving at strangers resulted in strange looks and sometimes even stranger comments. It was an eye opening experience for me, and it was an experience I am grateful for.
My heart belonged to my high school sweetheart and we both knew his life was on the farm. It didn’t take long before I realized I wanted to be there too and a few years later we were married. It’s hasn’t been an easy road but I know it was the right path for us both. We have spent many late nights working with the livestock or in the fields but we’ve had many great laughs along the way! The laughter is what keeps us going, especially on cold and snowy days like today or during the endless heat of the summer.
We still laugh about the time I was seven months pregnant with Rachelle and while doing chores one morning I fell through the floorboard of the chore truck. If you have ever been inside a chore truck, you know it’s the oldest truck on the farm and its body is pretty rough. Many times the windows are cracked and door latches are missing and there are holes in the seat. This particular truck had more rust than paint on the body and the floorboard was very thin! Only one door worked on the truck and it was missing the tail gate.
Our hogs were outside back then and we had about twenty head get out of a pen and they were headed towards the neighbor’s field. At seven months pregnant I couldn’t run quick enough to get in front of them and turn them around so I hopped in the truck. I managed to cut the hogs off and get them back in the pen but I had nothing to fix the fence with. I parked the truck next to the hole in the fence to keep them inside, I thought this was a great idea.
The only problem with this idea was the passenger door didn’t work on this truck and I had the driver’s door next to the fence. I was stuck, literally. My only way out was to climb out the window…..now remember I was seven months pregnant and it was 100 degrees outside. When I tried to stand up, my foot went straight through the floorboard. I’m sure if anyone had been around they would have died from laughter. I managed to get my foot back inside the truck and crawl through the window and over the hood of the truck but my leg was pretty scraped up and bleeding. Kevin was at the other hog lot which was about a half-mile away so I took out walking because we didn’t have cell phones yet and I needed his help.
It was August and it was hot and humid in Missouri and I felt like I was a marshmallow being held over a campfire. When Kevin saw me walking his way, I was covered in manure, my leg was bleeding, and I had sweat pouring off me. When he asked me what was wrong, I broke into tears and told him I had ruined the floorboard of his truck. He burst into laughter (because the truck was already junk or it wouldn’t have been used as the chore truck) but once he was able to regain is composure, he said he was ready to hear the entire story of how I ‘ruined’ his truck. Between sobs I managed to describe my situation but this only resulted in even more laughter once I shared with him how I crawled out of the window. Later he revealed to me why he was laughing so hard, he thought I probably looked like the Michelin Man trying to squeeze through the window. And for the rest of my pregnancy, he lovingly called me the Michelin Man. He’s so romantic! (I wouldn’t trade him for the world though.)
We may not have a normal family life but I’m thankful for the time we have with each other, even if it’s spent working. I hope one day my kids will look back on these late night snow fights and laugh!