Comfy in the Country

By Diane Stark

Comfy in the Country

“Are you sure about this?” My friend Erin asked me when I flashed my new engagement ring and announced that I would be moving from the Chicago suburbs to a rural community in southern Indiana. “You’re really going to move to a teeny tiny town nobody’s ever heard of?”

“Why not?” I said with a level of optimism only a woman in love can possess. “I love Eric, and I’ll be happy living wherever he is.”

“You’re going to be bored out of your mind. And don’t his parents live across the street?”

“Yeah, but I love Eric’s parents,” I said with a shrug.

“Sure, you love them now, but when they’re across the street every single day for the rest of your life…”

I shrugged again. “They are wonderful people.”

“Have you seen Everybody Loves Raymond? Did you see what that mother-in-law put that poor woman through? Do you realize what you are signing up for?”

I laughed. “My soon-to-be mother-in-law is nothing like the one on Raymond. It’ll be fine. Anyway, the words ‘across the street’ don’t mean the same thing down there as they do up here.”

Erin frowned. “What else could that phrase mean?”

“Eric and his parents own 78 acres of woods and farmland. Eric’s house sits on one end of the property, and his parents live ‘across the street’ on the other end of the property.”

“Oh,” my friend nodded, understanding dawning. “So his parents aren’t the problem. The real problem is that you are marrying a farmer.”

“He’s an engineer, Erin. I appreciate your concern, but this is going to be fine. I’ll be happy. I’m sure of it,” I assured her.

My friend sighed. “I hope you’re right, Diane.”

That conversation happened seven years ago now, and I’m happy to report that I was right. Eric’s parents still live ‘across the street,’ and I still think they are wonderful people. My kids walk or ride the four-wheeler over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for quick visits or when I need to borrow an egg. My in-laws come over for dinner on a regular basis, and I truly enjoy their company. My mother-in-law has never criticized my housekeeping or my parenting skills nor does she peek into my windows if I don’t answer the door, so the Everybody Loves Raymond fears were completely unfounded. Thank goodness.

Eric is still an engineer and not a farmer, although I have developed a bit of a green thumb myself. I planted some watermelons a few summers ago and they were actually growing until one of my sons ran them over with the lawn mower. Oops.

Four years ago, Eric and I built a new home on the same piece of property as our old house. We more than doubled our square footage, and we finally have enough room for our large family. The new house is comfortable, and we are so blessed to have it – even though it is even closer to my in-laws than the old one.

While all of my family members adore Eric and his family, a few of them did express concerns similar to my friend Erin’s.

“Don’t you remember what you always said when you were a child?” My mom reminded me. “You disliked it that we lived out in the country, and you always swore that when you grew up, you’d live in a neighborhood with sidewalks.”

Mom was right. I do remember that as a little girl, I always thought sidewalks were super cool. The house where I grew up sat on 10 acres. It was on a rural street with only about 10 other houses. All of my friends lived in a nearby subdivision, and they would walk to one another’s houses for after-school play dates. I was always left out because our house was not within walking distance.

“When I grow up, I’m going to buy a big house in a subdivision and walk on my sidewalk every day,” I often said.

I now live on a road with no sidewalks and just five houses on the whole street, and the road isn’t even paved. It’s gravel.

It’s my childhood nightmare.

And yet, I’ve never been happier.

It doesn’t make sense, except that it makes perfect sense. As a child, I pictured my perfect house, complete with sidewalks, as well as my perfect husband, my perfect family and my perfect job.

My perfect life was this: I wanted to live in a comfortable home with a husband who loves me and lots and lots of kids who I was able to stay at home to care for.

Comfy home. Check.

Really great hubby. Found him.

Lots and lots and lots of kids. Five to be exact.

Stay at home mom. That’s me.

Nobody’s life is perfect, but I’m pretty happy with mine. As it turns out, I can live just about anywhere as long as the people I love are there with me.

The truth is I’m comfy in the country.

Even without my super cool sidewalks.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close