Just a couple days ago, I was gathered with three of my children in the kitchen, mumbling to myself about this week’s column topic. Sometimes the topic comes easy, but sometimes I start a few sentences with one topic, backspace and begin with another.
One of the kids piped up, “Write something about the dumb virus.” I replied quickly, stating, “I think, in my opinion, that perhaps people are sick and tired of reading about the virus, so I am not going to add more reading material on that particular topic, but thank you.”
We then went about our business, and I decided to write a different day.
A couple days went by, teaching the kids got a little easier, and I thought perhaps a day out of the house was in order. Knowing just what to do to get the kids moving yet keep them outside, I called my mom and asked if she could put a few chores together for six- and 10-year-olds. There was no surprise when she happily obliged.
So, on Wednesday, we loaded up the car and headed to Rochester. Upon our arrival, the rakes, spades, and pruners were laid out like a three-dimensional welcome mat. The kids were warned they would have five minutes to run around before their physical education and horticulture combination class would begin. After checking on their chickens, we began.
Oh, how the work was “exhausting," or so they said (with an eyeroll, I couldn’t help thinking, “Child, you don’t know what exhausting is.”). But, with a little encouragement, the five-gallon buckets full of pond weeds and debris I had pulled, were emptied into wheelbarrows and carted away. Soon, the sweatshirts were off, brows were being wiped, and focus began to wane.
After two hours of work, with only a few gentle reminders as to why we were there, the kids had done enough “work” for the day. The energy was renewed, and they set off on adventures in the quarry, down to the old treehouse, and all over.
Although they may not see it or realize it, the best part of their day was working side-by-side with Grandma Mary. Time is one of the things that you can’t get more of, can’t take back and can’t buy. One of the best things in life is time well spent, and if you can spend it with people you love, that is all the better.
Little did they know, she was teaching small lessons as the hours progressed. For instance, after she filled several pails of light, dry weeds, one of the kids picked it up, raised it to shoulder level and dumped it into the wheelbarrow. You can imagine the sight as the wind picked up and blew those weeds all over, with few getting to the intended spot. Grandma stood up (I could tell it irritated her just a little), gave them a science lesson on keeping the bucket low while emptying lightweight things, and helped them re-collect the weeds.
As we left, my mom thanked everyone for their work, handed them a treat, and gave air hugs. She turned to me, and said, “Thank you for inspiring me to get back out in the garden this spring.”
The following morning, I was definitely sore. But I was blessed to have a day outside with my kids and my mom, working. Because of a virus, we had time together. Time well spent, time that will be treasured and time that cannot be given back. So, if you can, take advantage of this virus, don’t let it rob you of the little joys you can create, even if it includes work!
Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.