MANHATTAN, Kan. — I’ve received a number of calls lately to reschedule appointments because of COVID-19. Aside from the monthly hair appointments, my kids and I will not be visiting our dentist or eye doctor at our originally scheduled times this spring.
In the past, I have generally made these appointments around the end of school when the kids have a more flexible schedule. As I was on one particular call looking at calendar options for later this summer, I began to notice all of the events and functions that didn’t happen.
After penciling in a new appointment, I continued to look at all of the things I had not deleted on my calendar. Things like the pre-K Mom’s Day Tea Party, a music program, our elementary school’s field day and our county’s All Schools Day parade.
These were all days I had planned to take off to spend some special time with my kiddos. This realization brought some tears to my eyes as I realized my kids and I wouldn’t be able to experience some established traditions this year.
As I was wiping my eyes, my son and daughter came tromping into the farm office with Rosie our farm dog not far behind. The office has not only served as my remote workspace for nearly two months but has also served as the kids’ remote schoolhouse. Evidence of learning and life is scattered throughout the room.
My two young children, covered in a thick layer of dust, were looking for a snack break. They made a beeline to my desk drawer where I keep some goodies in the event of an all-to-often emergency snack.
I handed them each a packet of peanut butter crackers and asked what they were up to. They began naming off all of the shenanigans they and Rosie were doing that afternoon. From riding their bikes around the farmyard, gathering materials for a tree fort, setting up the water slide and gathering sticks for the fire pit. They had a busy afternoon planned. After gobbling down their snacks, they took off for another round of fun outside.
As I hollered at them to “be careful” and “shut the office door,” it was then that I realized I have been witness to all of the scheduled traditional spring events I was so sad to miss — only in a modified form.
I have been able to eat lunch with both kiddos nearly every day. And while I haven’t donned any special hats, we do eat finger foods on occasion and have even enjoyed some cream puffs I had originally purchased for the actual Mom’s Day Tea Party school event. While it might not be as fancy, and we generally have an unrefined hairy, stinky farm dog plotting to steal our food, we are still able to enjoy lovely conversations while also sipping on peach tea or lemonade. Modified Tea Party — check.
My daughter Isannah wakes up every morning singing a song and proceeds to go about her day singing while making multiple wardrobe changes and adding to the laundry pile. Modified school music program — check.
My son Banks has been throwing balls, lifting bags of seed, climbing everything and racing Rosie all around the farm. Modified school field day — check.
Both kids ride their bikes all over the farm. Banks generally puts cards in his spokes to make noise when his wheels turn while Isannah generally fills the basket on her handlebars with flowers and grass that she throws to her crowd consisting of Rosie the dog and Sunflower the cow. Modified All School’s Day Parade — check.
While the traditional events that held space on the calendar might not be happening this year, I’ve realized sometimes you have to open your eyes a little more to recognize the essence of those special events are still present.
— Kim Baldwin, McPherson County farmer and rancher, Kansas Farm Bureau
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