If you know me and my family, you know that my husband comes from a large family that happens to open a very large farming operation here in Southeastern Indiana. He works alongside the most hardworking people I know. He comes from a family that is hands-on, hearts open, and always there for each other. It’s something I can’t explain but can only feel.
Now, if you know anything about me, I wear my heart on my sleeve and the fall (and spring) is a very lonely time for me. I love predictability and being able to plan and there is ZERO planning during Harvest. You go when the weather is nice and go faster when the weather could turn the next day. A lot of tension is had at our house because I feel unstable during times of unpredictability. My husband is my rock of stability as I live with chaos in my head. He grounds me. But during this time, he cannot be that for me. I have to be that for him. I try. I try so hard.
I’m getting better but when Harvest is weeks in and I can’t pretend to be strong anymore, I crumble. I crumble hard. It usually happens after I’ve prepared a meal that my kids won’t eat, or a kid cries in their car seat all the way to the field to bring my husband dinner, or it’s when a kid throws a fit at the field and this is our only time to check in with dad for the day before bedtime.
What usually happens is that I ask my kiddos for a moment of Grace. A moment where Mommy can listen to her favorite song for a moment on the drive home without answering anyone’s questions. Then clarity usually sets in. I see the beautiful leaves changing on the trees and the blanket of COLOR that fall brings. Then realize that in just a moment, all of this color will be gone and the trees will lose all of their leaves, similar to how I feel, lonely and empty. But the tree is not dead, it is protecting itself from the winter cold and most importantly, for regrowth.
I get to raise my kids around hard-working people who self-sacrifice their needs for the greater good. They spend long days away from their family. Dinners are not in the living room but they are hand-scooping food into your mouth while standing in the freshly harvested field. Yes, sitting in a modern tractor looks a lot different than it used to but when something breaks, a Farmer becomes an intuitive engineer that needs to fix it on the fly and get the machine going again. The knowledge that is needed about the whole machine is a must, you cannot just call someone to fix it.
Some may see fall as pumpkin patches, pumpkin spice lattes, and cute fall clothing. I see those things too but I see so much more. It is so much deeper for me. As a photographer, this is also my busy time. But I make sure that my family’s needs are met first. I make sure I can balance time with my family while also contributing financially.
If you see me in the next couple of weeks and I have fast food from every restaurant in town in my car, it’s because I don’t like to cook and my brain just cannot take on the task of cooking. As a mother, I will never judge what you do to survive during the hardships with your family and I thank you for not judging me while I chase down the trash in my PJs at the school drop-off.