I’ve tried really hard during these past 10 weeks to document what I’m thankful for. It’s a simple list I keep on my phone that I add to in the evening before I go to bed. It’s an easy way to remind myself that despite our adverse conditions, I have A LOT to be thankful for.
For my 10th coronavirus-on-the-farm update, I thought I would do a top 10 from my gratitude list. The top 10 things I am most thankful for during our unpleasant and awkward quarantine:
- The Farm – From days working cattle to morning calf feedings, the farm has been a great source of learning and excitement for the boys and an opportunity for our family to spend real quality time together. I know how blessed we are to have a family farm and watching my boys not only tag along with my husband but play farm and talk about farming when they get home puts a smile on my face. Additionally the farm has provided us hundreds of acres with which we can roam and enjoy without seeing another human being. At a time when everyone is forced to remain home, spending time on the farm has been a wonderful and sanity-saving opportunity.
- Simplicity – Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal wrote a great column (Peggy writes a lot of great columns so give her a follow) that talked about the simplicity of our coronavirus life. For some it’s been painful – no social life, no vacations and no extra-curricular activities for the kids – but for me and many others, the slow down has peeled away all the things we kept ourselves busy with. Some of those things will return – like school activities and sports practices – but some might not. And honestly, I’m ok with that. I know that when allowed, our schedules will again accumulate the obligations and activities we once enjoyed. But it’s my hope that we better sort through those opportunities and use the memories of this simpler time to determine if it’s really worth our energy and attention.
- My Job – My job has given me a unique and often humbling view of the ongoing pandemic. Since the start, my team and I have worked every day to serve as a resource, sounding board and sympathetic ear for the thousands of Kansans who are being adversely impacted by the virus. I have cried, lost sleep and stressed out over the overwhelming nature of the virus, our complete economic shut down and the largely unknown future. But I am one of the lucky ones that has a job to wake up to and in the most stressful of times, I remind myself of that. My team will keep working to connect people and resources. We have a long road ahead of us but having a goal, a mission and a purpose has been a key to me getting through this downturn.
- Running – Morning runs are my thing. They are my sanity savior. Since the boys have been home from school, my morning runs have often been the only hour of my day that I’m not answering questions, returning emails or participating in conference calls. With no school or work travel, our mornings have actually been slower and that’s allowed me time to squeeze in more miles and take in all the great weather and sunrises we’ve been having here in Kansas.
- Family – The extra family time has definitely been a blessing of this whole experience. Spring is normally one of the busiest times of the year for our family so the fact that the boys had no school, I had no work travel and we were able to tag along with Derek for a few of his trips meant we enjoyed hundreds of hours of time together that we would have normally missed out on. It hasn’t always been pretty – the boys have fought, Derek and I have both lost our patience and my oldest has learned that he too needs his own time and space – but on the whole, the extra together time has been much appreciated and enjoyed.
- Technology – From broadband to cell phones to the dozens of apps my boys used to complete their class work, we would not have survived this quarantine without technology. Thankfully we were able to upgrade our internet last fall to a service that allows us to stream content, run the boys’ education programs and connect me to ALL the Zoom meetings we are now hosting. It’s no Gig speed, but it does the trick and keeps us all connected.
- The Farmer Hubs – Derek’s life, for the most part, really hasn’t changed through all of this. The cows still need fed, the corn needs planted and the bulls need turned out to pasture. But, he has had two additional helpers most days and has been a total team player in taking the boys with him whenever possible. In return, our boys have taken to farming ever more than they previously did and now talk about when they grow up and getting to farm, just like their dad. I think Derek has also gained a new appreciation for what it takes to work, parent and keep the peace around the house.
- Church – Every Sunday morning we boot up Facebook and tune into a modified church service. In these scary and uncertain times, I am thankful that we have a church, a pastor and a faith that we can lean on. It is my faith that has taught me to recognize and cherish the small things, the little bits of everyday happiness that God has blessed us with and the responsibility we have to carry out his golden rule to love our neighbor as ourselves.
- Quiet Time – I have to VERY chatty boys. They are wonderful and adorable but they never shut up. Not to mention my youngest son lives his life on level 10 – loud! This whole experience has reminded me just how much I NEED quite time each day. Some days the quiet time doesn’t come until I put the boys to bed and on those days I find myself sitting on the couch, TV off, lights down, just enjoying the sound of nothing and no one.
- Ice Cream – I’m enjoying a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream as a write this (because late-night writing seems to require ice cream and a beer). An evening bowl of ice cream has become a near-daily habit for my entire family. It’s probably why we have 4 containers of ice cream at our home. And it’s not just at home, but ice cream has become our go-to for bribing our children, rewarding our children of treating our children to something out of the norm. It’s not the healthiest decision we make all day but it’s a good source of calcium, right?