Stacy Bronec shares a story about finding contentment in her ordinary life. Now you can find the Kindred Mom book, Strong, Brave, and Beautiful: Stories of Hope for Moms in the Weeds, wherever books are sold. Subscribe to the Kindred Mom newsletter and receive a preview of the book today! Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
I unload the last box from my car and close the door to the apartment behind me. Turning back, I remember to lock the deadbolt, then collapse on the floor between the boxes.
My mom walks into the living room, “Well, it’s all in! Do you want to start unpacking now or eat dinner first?”
“Let’s order something in. My first take-out in the city!” I start to search on my phone for Thai take-out, excited to have so many choices right at my fingertips.
“How are you feeling?” she asks, placing her purse on the kitchen counter. “The apartment is really nice.” She looks around approvingly. “Lots of good light.”
“I’m thankful to not be in a basement apartment anymore.” I laugh, remembering the sound of the dogs running above me in my last apartment. “I can’t believe I’m here—that I actually moved. It still feels a bit unreal.”
She nods, “I can’t believe you’re going to be so far from home. But I’m proud of you. I haven’t been to Seattle since I was a kid. What day does your job start, again?”
“Orientation for the new employees is Tuesday. I’ll get to meet some of the other counselors then too. So I have a few days to unpack and maybe explore the neighborhood a bit,” I reply.
“That’s good you have a few days to settle in first,” she says.
“I hate unpacking,” I sigh. “Thanks for coming with me to help. Maybe one of these times it will be a last move,” I say, laughing.
The food arrives and we sit in silence until the rain begins to fall—the sound filling the room. The temperature seems to drop suddenly, and I begin to shiver. Looking around at the boxes, I rummage through them until I find a sweatshirt and quickly pull it over my head.
“Mommy!” I’m jolted from my sleep—rain pounding on the window. My heart races as I lie there, unsure of where I am. Slowly I sit up, seeing light coming through the crack in the doorway. My hand reaches to the right, fumbling for my glasses on the nightstand. The cries are coming from my daughter’s room down the hall. Walking into her room, I shake my head, thinking how vivid the dream was—even though I never made that move to Seattle.
“It’s okay, Allie. Did you have a bad dream?” I whisper, sliding into bed next to her. I start tracing circles and hearts on her back with my fingers. Within seconds, her eyes begin to flutter shut, and her breathing becomes steady. Slowly I pull my hand from her back and walk out of the room. I gently close the door behind me and tiptoe down the hall.
Our farmhouse is hundreds of miles from Washington—and my life feels a million miles away from that dream.
The next morning drags on, the time marked by snack requests, laundry, and attempts to get Allie to pee on the froggy potty. When she and her big brother are playing together, I sneak to my office to take a few minutes to myself.
Moments later, I hear, “Mommy, open this?” Allie walks toward me, holding out a package of fruit snacks. I sigh and turn my chair away from my open laptop.
“We just had a snack,” I grumble, reaching out to take the package from her hand.
“Tank you,” she says and grabs the fruit snacks from me.
She walks away, and my eyes land on my graduate degree on the wall. I’m really putting that to good use. My shoulders slump, thinking it was a waste of time and money. Looking out the window, I see the leaves are beginning to change, a sure sign of fall. I close my eyes, thinking back to the dream I had last night—it was autumn when I was searching for jobs in Seattle.
It was a Friday night, and I was in my basement apartment Googling “school counselor jobs in Seattle.” It wasn’t that I didn’t like my current job, but I felt a pull to the city. I hadn’t been there, but I had decided it was where I wanted to live. Maybe I had watched a few too many “Grey’s Anatomy” episodes, or maybe my life just needed a big shake-up. I love dreary rainy days and find comfort in gray skies, and Seattle seemed like the perfect fit.
My mind wandered, picturing myself living in a high-rise apartment, making my daily commute to work. I saw myself going to happy hour with friends and getting dressed up for fancy events. I imagined being able to leave my apartment and walk down the street with endless food and shopping in sight.
While I was scrolling my computer, a text popped up on my phone from a friend. “Hey, I have an extra ticket to this weekend’s football game. Do you want it?”
It was the biggest game of the year—the state’s rivalry college football game. Knowing tickets were hard to come by, without hesitation, I typed out, “Yes! Thank you!” I put my computer away, with plans to continue my job search later.
The weekend of the game I went to a friend’s house to meet up; a group of us were riding together for the three-hour drive to the stadium. A guy from out of town was going to join us for the road trip—he was someone I knew of but had never talked to. We were both several years past college with careers, but this team was our common denominator. I assumed we didn’t have much else in common. He was wearing a baseball cap, t-shirt, and cowboy boots—boots I could tell weren’t just for show. Throughout the day, I noticed he was flirting with me, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about him yet.
The sound of a tractor outside brings me back to my farmhouse. I look back at my diploma, wondering where that girl is now. Would she have found new friends in the city, going to fancy parties, having cocktails in heels? Would she be married now or still single? Would she have kids who were growing up using city transportation instead of riding in tractors?
The kids hear the tractor, too, and drop their toys to run toward the door to meet their dad. I watch out the window, seeing him step down the ladder in his different, but same well-worn boots and t-shirt. I think back to that football weekend—he says it was love at first sight, but it took me a bit longer. Marrying a farmer wasn’t what I had planned, but quickly my plans to move to Seattle were happily forgotten.
“It’s your favorite kind of weather,” he says with a grin when he walks into the house. “Dark and cloudy.”
I smile. “You know me pretty well, huh?”
I do still love gray dreary days. But now when I see rain on the horizon, I love it for a different reason—I know it means my husband will be home, unable to farm.
We all walk down the hall of our ranch-style house—a far cry from a city apartment. I peel my eyes from the chaos of toy tractors and trucks and watch the kids cling to each of his legs, asking him question after question. They barely pause to take a breath while telling him about their day. He kneels down beside them, listening.
I leave them and walk back to my office. Pausing in front of my diploma, I run my fingers along the edge of the frame, trying to remember why I wanted to be a school counselor. A few minutes later my husband joins me, placing a hand on my back.
“How was your day?” he asks.
“Honestly? I spent most of today feeling sorry for myself. The kids are so demanding, and it feels like I never get anything done. Other than laundry. I dreamed last night about Seattle, which was weird. I have no idea what sparked that memory,” I say.
“Oh. Well, what can I do to help?” he asks. “Can I take the kids with me for a couple of hours?”
I shrug my shoulders, “I was just trying to remember why I wanted to be a school counselor.” I pause. “Then I started wondering if getting my degree was a waste,” I say, nodding toward the diploma on the wall. “But, I can’t decide if I really miss my career that much, or just the idea of who I thought I would be.”
“Well, we would all be lost without you,” he replies.
I nod my head and let out a deep breath. Looking out the window, I see the puddles growing on the driveway. The sky is dark and gray—it looks like it’s going to storm for awhile.
He hugs me and I lean into his embrace. We stand silent for a moment until he takes my hand and we walk back to the living room and the kids. Today, I’m going to enjoy my favorite weather with my favorite people.
And that’s where I want to be.
Stacy Bronec is a wife, mom of three, a lover of baked goods, and a writer. She and her husband farm and ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana, where she ‘accidentally’ became a farmer’s wife. She has been published at Kindred Mom, Coffee + Crumbs, Her View From Home, and Motherly. You can also find her at stacybronec.com and Instagram, where she shares some of their farm story.