“Dad, you’re never home!” My son, Rhett, cries, burying his face in his hands. Then he throws himself on the kitchen floor. “You’re never here at dinner, and I just want to be with you!”
I glance out the kitchen window, the sky is still dark, but there’s a hint of red on the horizon. My husband, Rich, is packing his lunch for another day of seeding winter wheat.
I stop washing the dishes, slightly nodding my head. Rich glances at me, and I catch his eye, but I turn my head away from him as one teardrop slides down my cheek. I quickly brush it away before taking off my gloves and turning off the hot water.
Rich sits down on the floor next to Rhett and begins to rub his back. “That’s not true, buddy. Just last weekend, you came with me to the field, remember? And a few weeks ago we all went to the zoo together. And the lake,” Rich pauses, pulling Rhett onto his lap. “And today you have school, so you can’t come with me.”
“I know! But you’re never home for bedtime, and I miss you. That’s all,” Rhett cries, curling into a ball on Rich’s lap.
Harvest ended weeks ago. But now, the winter wheat must be seeded. So often, it feels like the seasons on our farm and ranch roll into each other, with no time to catch our breaths.
I know this is just another season. But the tears roll down my cheeks just the same. Not just because I feel sorry for my son being sad but because his feelings echo my own.
Feelings I haven’t been brave enough to voice out loud.
For weeks, I’ve been holding my thoughts back. I’ve been unable to tell my husband how I’m struggling, how it feels like he’s never home. How I’m tired of putting the kids to bed alone, breaking up sibling fights like a referee: three against one. How I long to have someone else in my corner, not feeling so alone.
But I keep my thoughts to myself because this is the life of a farmer’s wife. The seasons dictate our life. The crops must be seeded on time, then cut on time. For me, it’s hard to hold joy and stress at the same time. I cannot seem to let both emotions be true. It feels like if I complain too much about my life, I’m saying I hate it.
So I keep it to myself.
Click over to Beyond the Fencelines to read the rest of my essay.