That Same Damn Look

My husband loves me, I know this, he loves me fiercely. But at least one time per week he loses his patience with me over my housewife duties being incomplete, or leaving tools out, or putting the farm and animals above brushing Ellie’s hair (yeah I know, I’m working on this and have been since 2015). When the week’s stresses come to a head and this inevitable struggle of two different people’s very different priorities start to clash, and all of my faults are exposed, I look him in the eye and tell him that I appreciate him and that I’m sorry. I remind him that we wouldn’t be where we were today if I didn’t prioritize the farm. Then I promise that when I have the time, I’ll clean or do whatever it is that he feels like I’m slacking on. My apology and explanation or list of excuses, as I’m sure it seems like to him, are never really enough, so the fight never just ends there. Unnecessary tears and harsh words later, the arguing finally ceases. Nothing is accomplished from it, other than bringing awareness, once again to how thinly stretched we are and how hard starting our commercial farm and growing it from the dirt has been.

I never ask James to do anything for me. That’s part of our struggle. It’s not that he will refuse, it’s that, he’s already always done it before I get around to formally asking. A mere alluding to something, and if he’s physically able and we’re financially able, he will do it. Sometimes I wish he didn’t, because I will never keep up with him. Sure I keep up with him physically, we work the same amount of hours per day, and often times I work many more, but I’ll never do for him like he does for me. I just can’t. I try, often, with all I have to do it all, to be everything, but it’s physically impossible and once again, building the farm wins out and he sits in the back and the dishes sit in the sink. And even though this constant struggle of priorities rears it’s head, we still love each other and continue to support each other.

Because James is an action speaks louder than words kind of person, he doesn’t often tell me he’s proud of me or that I impress him. Honestly, it’s fine with me and it just gives me a reason to push harder to improve myself. Could you imagine the praise I would get if I brushed Ellie’s hair, did the dishes, vacuumed, took care of all the animals and the garden AND went to the farmers market and sold enough to pay the land payment, all in one day?! Hey, I can dream, can’t I? Hearing what I want to hear isn’t important, but being encouraged definitely is. When my faults are focused on so often, I can feel like I’m getting no where, like I’ve done nothing in the last couple of years and that this all has been a waste. I know it’s not the reality, and I know the criticism comes from a place of frustration but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cut every time something like that left his mouth. At times I feel like I am saying, “Look at this house I built!” And he’ll say, “yeah! Looks good, but that trim isn’t square on that one window.” It’s exhausting. And if being the kind of person that strives to be the absolute best in everything I do, didn’t make growing our farm hard enough, I’ve got a husband, by my side, pointing out any mistake I might make along the way.

This past Sunday was different though. After the weekend was nearly over, he sat in my newly outfitted farmers market trailer in an old metal chair, Coors Light and coozie in hand. It was a trailer he worked on adding outlets and lights, freezers and more to all weekend so that I could have an easier time at the markets and be able to take more products and sell out less. Packing Ellie, coolers of produce, boxes of eggs, meats, tables, signs, a tent and any other thing I might need, was really difficult in my small car and little trailer. And even though I never complained about it, I may have at one point mentioned it would be nice to be able to have a larger trailer. And once again, that alluding, had his weekend occupied doing something for me again, while I did things for the farm.

I told him how grateful I was, as he sat in that chair, looking proudly over what he’d accomplished, sweat dripping, t-shirt soaking wet from the July humidity. I continued on though, explaining that frankly I was shocked that he’d be cool with me driving the very nice truck he pays for, so often to the markets and not only putting the miles on it, but the wear and tear too. “Just keep it clean, best you can.” My jaw dropped. “As best I can.” Literally that means I’ll accidentally spill coffee in it 4 times before the week is up and I’ll only have driven it twice. That’s like my “best”. And apparently, that’ll be ok! I was getting excited at this point. He continued, “you work so hard and you have been so successful so far. I want to see you grow even more, sell even more, do even more. I just want to help you, in anyway I can, get there.” I died. I needed to be resuscitated after that.

I flashed back to that time when we first started really spending time together, standing in the door of his shed waiting for the rain to pass on a hot June night. We had been standing around a metal fire barrel, drinking beer, as the sky opened up on us. He talks about that night often. He loved me then, he would tell you, even though I thought nothing of him, like that at the time. Back then he looked at me like I was the most amazing person he’d ever seen. The kind of look that makes you blush and smile and shyly say, “What? What are you looking at me like that for!?” I flashed back to screaming matches under the lean-to where the trailer sat now, my new to me trailer that he worked so hard on. The screaming matches, in the setting sun of the day, exhausted, worn to the core, over how hard building this farm was and how at times it felt like every thing was slipping through our fingers including our marriage. And then I looked up at him again, in that chair, with that damn beer and that same damn look he had summers ago, a look now, in our daily exhaustion, I rarely see. But it was there, he was there for me, just like he always has been, even during the hardest times. And even if that look is hidden by the stresses of our daily lives, by the years that have passed as we’ve grown into our roles in our marriage, that amazement that he has towards me is still there, and amazement I have toward him is there as well and that look is there still too.

Look out for our new trailer at the HHI Farmers Market and the Forsyth Farmers Markets! Also I’m looking for a local artist, maybe a SCAD student to paint our logo etc on it, so if you have any leads, please reach out to me at 843-473-5231!

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