On the other side of this…
Water park visits, youth rodeos, T-ball games, street festivals and fairs, performing music almost every week in a different community, a state fair visit, backyard gatherings with friends and camping trips and work on the ranch, work on the house, work on planning community events…
That’s what summer looked like last year, and the year before, and the year before… a calendar full, the weekends penciled-in, not enough time to get to the lazing around part, the slow parts, the parts we stay home, bring Dad lunch in the hayfield and fight boredom with a homemade slip-‘n-slide — the summers I remember as a kid growing up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere.
Those summers looked more like mowing, barn painting, bareback horse rides to pick Juneberries, running through the lawn sprinklers with my best friend, bike rides, the county fair and an occasional trip to the outdoor pool.
Yesterday I made the girls homemade bubbles, the same way my grandma used to make them for us, and just like my daughters, we would go dancing across the lawn in the heat of the day with a string of sparkling orbs trailing behind us.
Watching them brought me back to that little brown house next to the barnyard and eating Schwan’s push-up pops on the front steps.
I haven’t spent so many summer days (or any days) consecutively at home at the ranch since then, it seems. But with COVID canceling every singing and speaking job for months and a cancer diagnosis derailing and bypassing every other plan we made for ranch, business and housework, here I am shuffling around the house and yard, tossing feed to the animals and placing my lawn chair next to the sprinkler as the kids run, squeal and jump through this unexpected summer, seemingly (and thank goodness) no worse for the wear.
If you would have told me last year this is where we’d be, no one would have believed it. But I see now in so many ways that I was yearning for it. Not the cancer part. Not the terrifying, life-threatening, business-ending pandemic part. No. Not that.
But a chance to take it down a notch, to step back and remember why we live here. Why we built this family on this piece of land and what it really means to exist here.
And I’m going to preface this by saying we are the lucky ones here. We are still working. We have land in which to social distance while we raise animals to help feed the nation. We have family close and we take care of one another. We are not on the front lines. We are keeping healthy, so far, and it’s because of that perhaps that I have the luxury of looking for lessons here.
But each day that passes in my recovery as a cancer patient (and a rancher, and a musician, an event planner and a mom and a daughter and a wife) in the time of COVID — each day that keeps us watching the news, arguing and discussing, staying close to home and riding the ponies and taking long walks to the grain bins — I’m looking and listening for how it’s speaking to me, how it’s changing me and my family, how it might affect our communities, our country and our world.
Because the greatest tragedy of it all, to me, would be that all this suffering, uncertainty, loss and worry at this moment in history and in my personal trials, would be in vain.
And that could send me into a panic, because there’s so much that needs to change…
But then I watch my girls run across the yard, bare feet, wild hair and bubbles flying against a blue sky, and I think — even if all we learn from this is how to sit still long enough to make homemade bubbles and eat push-up pops on the front porch, and turn the backyard sprinkler on in the heat and take good and better care — maybe, on the other side of this, we could be on our way to being OK…
On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 10:02 AM Meanwhile, back at the ranch… wrote:
> Meanwhile, back at the ranch… posted: ” On the other side of this… > Forum Communications Water park visits, youth rodeos, T-ball games, street > festivals and fairs, performing music almost every week in a different > community, a state fair visit, backyard gatherings with friends and camping > ” >
Beautiful….. exactly what we all need to remember, now and for the future of our precious families and friends. Thank you for putting it into words so perfectly.
Beautifully written and I am hopeful with you that we will be better at the other end.
Hopefully we will all come thru this with a better mindset and become a better person all the way around! I am a 7 year breast cancer survivor. I was fortunate that is was found early as I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, not as common, but more aggressive. You have a wonderful mindset and a beautiful family , your daughters bring such a smile to my face when I see what they are up to. They will give you the strength and courage needed to get thru this. My family was so important to me, giving me all the love and strength I needed,
My husband, daughter, son in law and my 5 grandchildren were my rock. I look forward to reading your blog it brings hope!! Stay strong and keep the Faith!!
How did you get so wise? I’m still working on that. Ginger Callahan
Clearly I’ve fallen out of touch with your blog as I didn’t know of your encounter with cancer. I know you are surrounded by love and and open space. Your ponies and your little girls must be a wonderful tonic…and of course that dreamy hubby of yours. 😉
Virtual hugs and best wishes from Nova Scotia where it is hotter than heck …