The farmer broke up with me five times the first five months we were together, last year. So I learned that he had huge commitment issues.
I tried to do the advisable thing to do when you're with someone who has commitment issues. I tried to fall in love with someone else. But I didn't. I only missed the farmer more.
So I told myself that it's okay to be with someone who has commitment issues, as long as I am having fun.
But my kids grew to love the farm, and the farmer, almost as quickly as I did. This makes sense. My oldest son was with me on my first visit to the farm, and if you have ever been on a working farm you know that to kids, it's like Disney World.
So my kids were constantly asking to go to the farm, and constantly trying to figure out, what is the farmer? A friend? An uncle? And why did I kiss him if he's not in my family?
This is not a good path for kids if the relationship isn't going toward marriage. So I waited until a day when the farmer and I were holding hands, walking between rows of corn higher than our heads. And I told him that I can't keep bringing the kids to the farm because we're not getting married and I'm scared the kids will get hurt.
The farmer didn't say anything for five minutes. And then he said, “Okay. Let's get married.”
It's taken me months to tell people. It's taken me months because I sort of don't believe it.
I didn't want to write that I'm worried. You will tell me, in the comments section, “Don't get married if you are worried!” But I'm not sure I'd ever NOT worry.
How can I not worry about marrying a farmer? I will be moving, with my kids, to his farm. The farm is in the absolute middle of nowhere, outside the town of Darlington, WI. And now, I guess this will be my debut in Darlington, because I'm pretty sure there will be no blog outranking me for that search term.
But if I didn't marry the farmer, I would be worried, forever, that I should have married him.
So it's not a hard decision to marry him. I have been married before, and I don't think I'm going to change much, so I know what I need, and I know what I have to offer, and we are a good fit.
And, I have Asperger Syndrome, which could be summarized as raging intellect and acute sensitivity to outside input. So the farm is a perfect spot for my mind to explore while outside-my-mind is calm.
But I worry about the farm for my kids. One of my kids also has Asperger Syndrome, and he is completely addicted to the farm and the animals, and the farmer's calm, slow, sunny demeanor. My other son does not have Asperger's and probably does not need of the serenity of life on the farm.
Not that serenity is bad. And the family life that grows from farming is intimate and grounded and full of routine. All good things for kids.
But I grew up in a world where everything was open to me. Check out my high school: New Trier. It's always ranked in the top twenty-five high schools in the country. I remember the principal telling us that the top 500 kids in our graduating class would go to colleges where most would be the valedictorians of their class.
At the time I didn't understand how this could be. But now I understand that in order to compete at the top of the academic field, you need to be the number-one student in your small town.
Maybe not number one academically. But number one in soccer if you want to play soccer in college. And number-one in cello if you want to play in an orchestra in college.
Wait. No. It's worse than that. Because in Darlington, there is no orchestra in high school. So where will my son play his cello in high school if he wants to play in college? And how will my boys learn to play soccer at a high enough level to play in college if all the kids on the coasts are getting private coaching? Where is the private coaching in Darlington?
It's scary how limiting the choices are when you live in a place like Darlington. But competition is scary to me as well.
The reason I couldn't keep playing professional beach volleyball is that I didn't care enough about winning. To get to the very top of anything, you have to think you're going to die if you don't win.
That's not me.
I belong on a farm, where life is slow, and rhythmic, and people are not breathing down my throat about getting the best of everything.
The farmer and I discuss this a lot. He went to graduate school for biology and hated it and went back to the farm. He thinks he could have done anything, so why won't my kids be able to choose anything?
I am not sure. I am not sure if it's my proximity to overachievers that gave me opportunities, or it's my innate optimism and intelligence.
Then he tells me that what I really would have wanted from my childhood is to feel love and security, and why don't we just focus on giving the kids that?
He's right. But it's hard for me to act on that. So I think this marriage and move are leaps of faith for me, hoping that love and security will trump opportunity and achievement. I hope I'm making a good decision for my sons.
The Story of the Farmer – From the First Day We Met:
June 2008 New Way to Measure Blog ROI
Sept. 2009 How to deal with an insane commute
Oct. 2009 How to deal with doubt: Take a leap