I looked out the window yesterday afternoon and witnessed my farmer husband's red Ford truck sitting in front of the barn where he had unloaded the hay I had requested for my growing calves, mini horses, and spoiled rotten pet goats. Then I saw him leaned against the end of the pitch fork for a brief moment, taking a break, his eyes looking out over the land. Shortly he returned to shoveling the manure that MY animals had made and that I consider MY responsibility, and my heart just melted. The grandchildren had gone home, so I put on my insulated coveralls and a warm coat. Instead of taking my evening walk, I went to the barnyard and there my man and I had a heart to heart talk. The serious conversation was interspersed with teasing and laughter while he shoveled MY manure (which I thought was the perfect metaphor as I sorted out some negative feelings that needed to be transformed into "fertilizer" and character growth). When he finished, I opened the gates for him while he put round bales in the feeders for the rest of the cattle. Because it's winter, we were able to have an "early" supper and continued conversation across the table as we ate our homegrown baked potatoes and creamed lima beans along with our farm raised beef. We finished the evening off by sitting side by side watching a few game shows on television. Everything about our evening when I looked at it through open eyes, was a testament to our love.
This farmer's wife doesn't need (or even want) expensive flower arrangements, fine dining, expensive (or any) gifts, or exotic vacations to know my man loves me (although he does do those things on occasion). It's the faithfulness he exhibits daily to our love, our life, our family. It's the joy we find together in the midst of a sometimes difficult profession and while living in an often hostile world. It's the daily dedication that melts my heart and keeps me hopeful even when life deals out it's worst.
Real love is a whole lot like farming with a lot of messy crap to shovel, disheartening circumstances to overcome, emotions that sometimes run too hot or too cold, long days, short night's, and heartbreaking losses. The messiness is counter balanced by new life, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and the rewards of the honest labor we put towards our ever growing love.
On this Valentine's Day, if I had to choose all over again, I would choose THIS life with my farmer who knows exactly how to show me how much he loves me. After all, he DOES shovel my cow's poop.
Happy Valentine's Day from a couple of farmers!