a farm boy and his folks

Living on the farm two miles from The In-laws can be… colorful.

As anyone in the independent farming culture – or character from the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond”  – can tell you, it’s that there are times when a person’s constant presence can be overwhelming and quickly tests your patience.

In the early years of our marriage, my grace and understanding were nearly choked to death by various differences, usually due to a “this is how we did things growing up” mentality.

And more often than not, I would look my husband square in the face, scissors in hand ready to cut the apron (or bale) strings myself, and wonder what I got myself into and whether their daily home visit routine was going to last forever.

Each time, however, with gritted teeth I chose to take a step back and  look at the situation through the lens of my new parents, and many times this brought me to my knees of the basement-dwelling oak chest, filled with well-organized photo albums of Country Man’s youth.

And by doing so, I was given the gift of a glimpse into the people who loved him first…

A glimpse into the woman who gave him his first kiss,

husband and mom

and taught him about playful lovin’…

husband and mom

Each flip of the page told me more about the people who nurtured these deliciously plump legs,


I’m… too sexy for this 80’s recliner

and with gentle touching, guided his squishy arms into a survivable hug hold…

husband and dad

father and his son

They gave him his first view from the top,

husband and his dad

and first taste of life on the wild side…

father and son

Showed him the simple joys in life,

a boy and his dad

often discovered in simple wrapping paper…

very happy boy

or a blanket square tightly wound.

brother and newborn sister

Ah, she’s not so bad, he decides after time…

a brother and sister

Parents who gave him a boy’s best friend,

boy and his dog

and the boy who learned the more, the merrier, right?

brother, sister, dog

Putting the album back into place, I breath a silent thank you to the people who created this blue-eyed, animal loving hunter
(yes, they exist).

The man still filled with their sacrificial love,

husband in bathrobe

and with that love experienced, now pours it on to those around him.

South Dakota gal's husband

With that sought-after understanding, patience wins another day.



67 thoughts on “a farm boy and his folks

  1. Yes in-laws can be a pain for sure and if mine have taught me anything at all in my life it has been tolerance. It makes me stop and think why do I feel this way? I am glad someone else other than me practices tolerance.

  2. 🙂 my inlaws live right next door to us, on the family farm, which they are no longer to take care of. My husband maintains two properties now, goes running in the middle of the night when hydro goes out or pumps freeze up, and still visits daily at least once. Fortunately, they are wonderful people, but stil.. it can be a little close quarters, sometimes. I’m still grateful for the way he was raised, like you are.

  3. I love this… I have had the best in-laws in the world, but they did, at times, try my understanding. So much easier when we are willing to learn and step out of our own experience!

  4. My in-laws live in Australia, we live in the US….
    Love the sweetness of the photos and the message, but I’m not sure he was too happy about you taking that last photo! Ha! Very cute.

  5. This is terribly sweet 🙂 I identify with everything you said, everything! I learned so much about how to truly understand my husband by really listening to and getting to know his parents – without getting defensive or impatient! Not always the easiest task, but definitely worth it 🙂

  6. Wow. What a wonderful lesson. I am blown away by the perspective you shared with us. It makes perfect sense. I hope I remember this the next time I am frustrated by the in-laws. (wink)

  7. What a cool post, love the old pics. Aside from the lesson of relationships with in laws… one of thing strange things I took from this… I remember looking through old pictures of my family and my parents when they were young, in old ratty photo albums. I love walking into antique shops and looking through the boxes of old discarded pictures. I wonder sometimes what my kids will look at. With digital cameras we take thousands more photos than we used to, but where do they end up? Facebook pages, in folders on our computer, sometimes left to die on some camera somewhere. I don’t know, I’m not trying to be a technology scrooge… sometimes I’m a technology addict, but I thing we are losing something here.

    • So true! My husband and I have talked about that before, too. That is one thing I appreciate about blogging; what a neat gift for your kids to see their Dad’s thoughts and the feedback he received. I would have loved glimpses into my grandparents lives through their journaling/writing.

      • Interestingly, my wife goes in periodically and prints out all my posts and puts them in binders for safekeeping. Guess she’s worried about some apocalypse that will wipe out the internet and all the blogging websites! 🙂

  8. 40 + years ago my husband and I took over the family farm, moved into the family farm house and displaced his parents. I remember the feelings you described like it was yesterday. But then something really great happened. My mother-in-law became one of my best friends. Because every trial and error we made on the farm, she had already lived through and survived. And she understood me so well.. She knew when to step in and when to step out. I miss her so much.
    Great post. Brought back many memories.

    • This was my favorite comment, because it is was I hope to happen for my mother-in-law and me. She has done the best she can, but my father-in-law has made this arrangement pretty hard at times and sometimes she’s left to pick sides. I hope for things to get better so I can get to know her more and be better friends.

  9. We live 5 miles from my in-laws, and there are times I’m sure they tire of me popping over unannounced (our place is definitely not on their ‘route’ unless they’re headed to grandma and grandpa’s, so less ‘dropping in’ on their end). It is a huge blessing, and sometimes a little too much. But aren’t all relationships like that in some way or another?

  10. Those pictures were so moving. Most old photos are just people lined up smiling! We didn’t know too much then about taking candid photos. These were great.

    After having my own son, I learned to better tolerate my mother-in-law’s son-worship. 😉

  11. We live about 1/2 mile from my in-laws. I love them to death, but I understand where you are coming from. I actually dread the thought of having to move someday, because I won’t know how to make it work without them across the corn field. Your pictures are amazing.

  12. Beautiful sentiments! We’re visiting in our son’s home this week & I hope I’m being the kind of mother-in-law that his wife is happy to have around.

  13. It’s so wonderful that you could escape to that chest of wonderful pictures to keep from letting the in-laws drive you crazy! “I’m too sexy for this 80s recliner” really made me laugh, and as soon as I saw Country Man’s dad, I was like, “Wow, they look alike!” Handsome catch ya got there!

  14. I love my in-laws. I joke with my husband that I married him for his parents. That’s a real blessing, especially since my mom and I aren’t overly close. But then again, I don’t have an intrusive mother in law. Your husband really better appreciate you and your patience.

  15. This was the perfect post for me this morning, as my MIL will be here tonight… for three days! My husband and I used to live 1/4 mile from his mom, and now we are living next door to my parents. Regardless of whose parents, it is ALWAYS a trying experience living within such a close distance. That constant presence is HARD! Thank you for sharing. Gives me a little more patience for this woman about to enter my house 😉

  16. Oh I have missed reading your words so much while I’ve been away from blogging. You have been my first port of call upon returning. This is beautiful writing as always. x

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