Wednesday, April 4, 2012
***Warning- vegetarians or squeamish people should skip this post.
Yesterday, I was a pretty good wife.
We purchased half a grass-fed steer to last us all year. Yesterday my husband asked me to bring Siena down to the ranch to "meet" the steer right before it would be butchered. I thought it a little odd, but obliged, and I'm glad that I did. How humbling to see the cow that will make up most of our meals for the next year. Praise God for this beautiful beast and the wholesome meals he will provide. Knowing exactly where your food comes from is rare in this modern world.
Anyway, baby and I said hello to the steer, soaked in the beauty of the blue sky and grassy plains (tucked oddly enough in a canyon in the middle of suburban O.C.) It was surreal. Then we left the ranch before the butcher came. I didn't want to be there for the killing- that's where I draw the line. Joe stayed behind to watch and participate in the butchering (as Joe wanted to keep the organ meats that the butcher normally disposes of.)
As I drove away, Joe nonchalantly mentioned, "Oh yes, my coworker and I will be cutting and dividing the organs in the backyard. Don't worry, we'll use a tarp."
Hm, a little weird, but that's ok. I'm a good wife, I can handle some minor hacking in the backyard. I'll just take Sisi out for a walk while they do it.
Well, much to my horror, this "little hacking" turned into a 3 hour long butchering session on our lawn. I was busy tending to the young'n, but out of the corner of my eye, I see cleavers, pressure washers, blood, sawing, blood-stained ice chests. The dogs are drooling as they stare through the back window at the horror movie in my own backyard.
I can see that Joe is stressed out and exhausted. It's completely dark outside and he's still butchering. It's been a long day for him, and probably very emotionally draining, too. I want so badly to complain about the mess, to tell him, "This is ridiculous, why is this taking so long? Get this carcass off my property!"
But I try to be a good wife, and I say nothing. It's now 7:00 and he's supposed to give Sisi a bath and get her ready for bed, but he's obviously busy, so I do it. I eat my dinner alone, and leave a tin-foil covered plate of food on the table for my cowboy (a ribeye steak from last year's cow.) I tell myself, "You will not complain. Don't complain! That's so not what he needs right now."
Joe's done, and sits down to eat after showering. He tells me sorry for all the craziness. He didn't expect it to be such a laborious process. Next time it will be different.
That was my chance to be an awesome wife, and say, "That's ok honey. Thank you for working so hard to provide this family with food. Thank you for using your own two hands to make sure this cow's body parts aren't wasted. That was gross, but I respect that you want to use every part of this cow. Thank you."
Instead, I took his apology as my cue to release all the complaints I was holding in my heart. "Next time??? THERE WON'T BE A NEXT TIME! That was so utterly disturbing. I feel like I need to burn down the entire backyard. Don't you think that was a little over-ambitious?" He nodded, and didn't get defensive. In a way, I was right.
Yesterday I was a good wife. I let my husband butcher a cow in the backyard. But I wasn't an awesome wife. I was supportive of my husband on the outside while cussing him out on the inside.
Suddenly, I was reminded of all the years he parked his truck on the street so I could turn the garage into a floral workshop. The countless times he cleaned disgusting mildewed buckets, hauled rotting floral trash to the dump, loaded up the van while I bossed him around. All the times he went back to wedding sites at midnight to clean and pick up the rentals just so I could sleep. The flower business was far from glamorous, and was extremely hard on both of us, and he never once complained. That business was important to me, so it was important to him. He was an awesome husband. He IS an awesome husband.
Next time I get the opportunity to be an awesome wife, I hope I take it!