He had a job he had to do, working nights, a loooooong ways from home and so it was the boys and I holding down the fort.
Or, actually, the farm.
Strawberries have come into season here and this is the first year we have really been able to say we have a crop of them.
As in, there are so many strawberries I cannot even begin to pick them all. Seriously. We pick until Moma is so stiff and sore she can do no more. And then we start again the next day. And every strawberry we pick we sell. And for every quart of strawberries we sell, there are more calls on my answering machine waiting for more strawberries.
And I was home alone with four boys, trying to keep them fed and keep the house walk throughish and it was just so overwhelming to do it allllllllllllllllllll.
Alicia, who knew I was swamped at home and lent me her son to help me. Who gave me a listening ear when I was overwhelmed even if she and I were swamped with things to do at work.
Korene who showed up at my door one morning just to pick strawberries with me. Just cuz she thought it would be fun to help us. She and I picked 30 quarts of berries that morning and drank a few cups of coffee too.
Sue showed up at my house with lunch and homemade, still warm, blueberry cake. And then she and I drank a ton of coffee and just chatted away - how great was it to talk to an adult...and my best friend at that...face to face.
Kristi, my neighbor across the field, kept in contact and helps keep an eye on the things going around so we can watch each other's backs...and I'd be lost without her now.
Becca who is my texting buddy. She sends me pictures of dead rattlesnakes after I have watched True Grit, all alone, late at night just to ask if I want it sent to me. I lover her for things like this...and so much more.
I hate having my husband gone. He's been gone before. We try to make light of it a bit. He jokes he has given me four boys to do farm work so it shouldn't be tough - even though I know it kills him to leave all the work for us. We talk about when he gets home and the date he is for sure gonna owe me. ;)
We appreciate each other in so many more ways. We find absence does make the heart grow fonder...
The boys step up and try to help me too. I depend greatly on them. And the time with them just one on one has been great, I have to admit. It's been fun to do some things we never do...like take an afternoon and go to McDonald's for lunch or spend some hard earned money on some crazy fun toys or get their opinions on flowers for the yard (that was a hoot...like a whole hoot and half.).
When my husband was gone on a job before, years ago, I felt so alone and I think he remembers how scared I was then. I was responsible for all the boys, I was picking asparagus with S4 in a back carrier, I was exhausted beyond the meaning of exhausted. I had no one...or so it seemed at the time. And I was totally lonely. Desperately so. But he mentioned how comforting it is to know what a great group of friends I have now, friends who have truly stepped up to the plate and helped us all.
I would fill my husband in with all the tid bits of my day and he laughed one day when I had been especially blessed with friend visits. "Wow. You really know who your true friends are." And then, as he so often does, he broke into song. This song, actually.
You can't get any better friends then the ones I have been so richly blessed with.
And I hope they know just how much I love and ever so appreciate them.