Hi. My name is Jessica, and I’m a dairy farmer’s wife.
I did not grow up in the country. Though in the name of full confession, I did not grow up in a city either. I was born and raised in Holland, a suburban home to roughly 35,000 Dutch reformers on the shores of Lake Michigan. But I always felt like a city girl trapped in a suburban girl’s body.
During my senior year of college, I spent three and a half months living and working in Chicago. This beautiful city had me at hello. I loved the taxis, the crush of bodies, the subways, the restaurants, the ethnic neighborhoods, the theaters, and the shopping. I worked four days a week at my internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I had my pick of five Starbucks within a mile radius of my apartment. That semester was bliss and I fully intended to move back the second my diploma was in my hand.
But it’s like Lennon said: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I made other plans. But life laughed at me. After my semester in the land of steel and glass, I returned to finish my final semester of college. It was there that Dairy Man finally weaseled his way into my heart. Two years later, he was down on his knee pulling a sparkly ring out of an ice skate. Little did I know what my “YES!” would entail.
Today the Dairy Man and I live on a 118+ acre dairy farm in the middle of Michigan. I can actually see cows from my kitchen window. I have to wear rubber boots to walk to the garage. The Dairy Man works between 80 and 100 hours per week. It’s very common for me to say “What’s on your shirt?” and have the Dairy Man respond, “Oh, just some manure.”
I don’t think any amount of research could have prepared me to be a dairy farmer’s wife. Farming is not just a job; it’s an all-encompassing lifestyle. The farm is my Dairy Man’s job, passion, hobby, and mistress. Dinnertime is a moving target; vacations and holidays are non-existent (the cows always need to be milked, even if it’s Christmas); artificial insemination is a mealtime conversation topic; and Dairy Man works more and sleeps less than I thought a person physically could.
But my Dairy Man loves it. He’s full of big dreams and won’t quit until he achieves them. Ironically, it’s this same dogged persistence that won me over and has me waking up in countryland every morning.
Life is funny on the farm. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, I hope you’ll think so too.