God answered prayers by giving us more work.
Last Thursday we celebrated not only our country’s anniversary, but also our 45th wedding anniversary. We got married right out of high school, I was seventeen and Mark had just turned nineteen and somehow we made it. Has it always been easy? Nope, not at all. In fact, we were both ready to throw each other in front of a speeding bus last week while trying to fill our empty hay barn with small square bales of alfalfa. Thankfully those times are few and far between and we get over them very quickly now that we are older.
Sometimes I am in awe that we, barely out of childhood ourselves, managed to stay together and raise six well-adjusted kids. Two teenagers, starting a marriage and a family and trying to farm during one of the worst farm economies ever, we had to have had divine help. I remember praying God would take over and correct any mistakes we made.
Often I look back and feel I wasn’t a very good mother, there just wasn’t enough time to be the mother I would have liked to have been. Mark and I did the field work together, both of us with a baby and/or toddler sleeping beside us in the tractor cab. I felt so bad they spent so much time with us as we worked. But when my kids reminisce about their childhood, they love those memories. My daughter Karen just wrote about how much she loved harvest as a kid. She remembers the ice chest full of sandwich meats, pop and candy bars. She remembers our old wheat truck seat filled door to door with her three sisters and me, driving to the elevator making up songs that we all still remember to this day. She fondly remembers waiting in the long line of trucks until it was finally our turn to dump our 300 bushel of wheat and head back to the field. She recalled how I would park under a mulberry tree when we returned to the field, the kids would climb in the back of the truck and they could climb on the wheat higher and higher with each combine bin-full until they could finally reach the mulberries and snack on them till it was time to go dump the truck again. She didn’t mention being hot and sweaty and covered in wheat dust. She doesn’t remember the breakdowns when tempers grew short and I had to load them all up and drive for hours for parts. She doesn’t regret not being able to play ball because there was no time for extra activities. She thinks what she had was better.
And you know, for us, maybe it was. Maybe the key to two immature kids staying married was to be so busy we didn’t have time to think about doing anything else. Maybe the key to raising a self-sufficient family was to be so busy we all had to work together to make ends meet. There wasn’t time to play so we tried to make being with us as we worked as fun as we could. Maybe that was it. Or maybe God truly worked overtime answering my prayer to correct all the many mistakes we made.