I have noticed that different people and families are responding to living in and through the Covid-19 pandemic in very – very different ways.
Several of our neighbors have started walking on a regular basis during Covid-19. It feels sort of like Jason and I have new friends. We wave and smile and call out warm greetings from a safe social distance when we see each other on our twice daily walks.
There are people who wear gloves, face shields, and masks when out in public and others who wear their masks around their chins. I am deeply curious about what sort of statement these folks are trying to make with the “chin mask” – but I never want to get close enough to ask . . . (Jason has warned me that I probably don’t actually want to know what these people are trying to say!)
Then there is the whole question/debate of NTI verses in-person learning at school . . . Wow are folks passionate about this one!
These are frightening – stressful – exhausting – deeply frustrating times. Covid-19 has really – really messed up our world and thrown us all for a great big loop!
I too feel the “too many balls in the air” pressure of NTI – career – COVID-19 strangeness – keeping the house kinda-sorta cleanish – exercise – NTI – parenting – work – laundry – so – so many dirty dishes these days – maybe taking a minute or two to remember who I am and then back into the fray!
It is easy to let the stress – the pressure and the fear begin to overwhelm us. Some days it can feel like it is all just a bit too much.
But – Jason and I are also very conscious of the fact that our actions and our responses to these times are shaping our sons lives. Jack and Will are most certainly watching us and learning from us and our actions and our responses to the stresses in our lives.
Furthermore – we really don’t want their memories of these months (perhaps even years) to be memories of boredom – or fear and anxiety – or of just staring at their electronic devices or of stressed out – grumpy parents. We want Jack and Will to have great memories of these months too. We want our sons to have some genuinely happy memories of 2020. We want Jack and Will to remember these months as a time when they felt loved – nurtured – safe – secure and treasured.
One of the ways we are doing this is by making sure that we do things our sons really and truly love doing. We are setting aside times that are all about them just getting to be themselves with no expectations – no strings attached – no pressure.
Friday afternoon – after NTI wrapped up for both Jack and Will – both boys asked if we could go back to Broadrun Park to explore and to look for snakes (of course). So once again – provisions were procured – water shoes and nets were gathered – and the backpacks were packed. (We don’t travel lightly at the McFarland house.) Jason bid us a fond farewell – because sadly his work week wasn’t quite over yet. And soon the three of us set off in search of snakes and other glorious creatures!
And what a wonderful afternoon and evening we had together along the shores of Floyd’s Fork River.
Magnificent memories were made.
Fantastic frogs were found and befriended.
Fish were netted.
And the slithering snakes – oh the stupendously superior snakes – we met!
We laughed big laughs and delighted in each others’ company. (We don’t always – we are a totally normal family and there are times when we drive each other absolutely – positively NUTS!)
We talked and talked and explored and explored some more.
We truly had a wonderful time. I took pictures of snakes. I even got brave enough to touch a wild snake.
I would still much rather find river glass – but Friday wasn’t about me. Friday was about my sons! It was about delighting in them and their interests and their passions! It was about leaving the stress and pressure of NTI and Covid-19 behind for a few hours and just letting them explore and delight and enjoy being themselves.
They needed to get away from all of the pressure and noise and tech that is their lives these days and we needed to make sure that happened for them. As parents – we have the power to say – “enough!” And sometimes – we do just that.
I can’t recommend it enough! Letting go of your worries and your work for a few hours is really good for your soul. The laundry and the dishes and the whatever all waited for us.
We came home relaxed and refreshed with sand in our shoes and dirt on our knees. We came home with new stories to tell Jason and with memories of just being thankful that we got to spent an afternoon exploring God’s creation together.
I know that seeking slithering snakes likely isn’t your thing or your family’s thing. But there are so many – many ways to celebrate your loved ones and to delight in them and who they are.
I encourage you to seek ways to make some positive memories in the midst of these strange times. Be creative. Be thoughtful. Be adventurous and wise and safe. Celebrate your loved ones and who they are and who you are together – even if you have to celebrate that togetherness while being socially distant. And don’t be afraid to declare “enough is enough!” every once in a while. The dishes and the NTI and the whatever – it waits. Really it does – and if it doesn’t . . . you have some awesome new memories instead!
You are all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ –