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Missing the Farm

Spending time with loved ones is an important family value in our house. For us, that looks like game nights or dinners with friends on the weekends, spending Sundays and Wednesday nights at SMBC, or soaking up beautiful days with the family at our farm in Brenham.

In the time since the stay-at-home orders were issued, we’ve been doing our best to keep up with “all the things” and embracing new ways to spend time with our friends and loved ones. We schedule Zoom calls with family and friends. We make more regular phone calls (vs. texting) to loved ones. Our 5-year-old even has his own personal Zoom and Microsoft Teams accounts to keep up with his classmates.

We are so grateful for the many blessings we have and are purposeful to name those blessings out loud.  And still, the absence of meeting regularly with other people has taken its toll, especially on our 5-year-old social butterfly, Owen.

I talked with Owen recently about what he misses most since the stay-at-home orders were issued. We talked about a lot of things he might miss, including going to school to see friends, his weekly Jiu Jitsu classes and swim lessons, or missing out on the rodeo this year with the whole family. While he does miss a lot of things to some degree, he was quick to pick the one thing he misses most right now:

“I miss going to the farm with Nana and Papa,” he said.

What does this mean coming from our 5-year-old? Well for one, we know running and playing outdoors is preferable to most other activities at this age, so there’s that, which could be reason enough. But after a longer conversation with Owen, I know he really means so many other things, too:

He misses going places. With only “essential” operations open currently, the idea of ‘going somewhere fun’ has been stifled.

He misses connecting with others. We are a family of huggers. He misses seeing and hugging his network of loved ones, Nana and Papa (Phyllis and Dan Brockermeyer) in particular.

He misses routine and knowing what’s next. When we began Spring Break this year, we had plans to go to the farm with the family. Going to the farm was next on Owen’s list of fun things to do this spring.

Boy, can I relate. We miss those things, too.

Brandon and I believe in focusing on doing what we can, when we can. So what can we do? We can continue practicing grace, gratitude, and generosity; grace with big emotions at home, gratitude for having loved ones and the privilege of ‘first world problems,’ and generosity by serving others in need. We know we don’t always get it right (read: practicing), but we keep praying, doing the best we can to do the next right thing, and keeping up hope for the day we all get to celebrate together at the farm again.

Sidebar: Q&A w/Owen about the farm:

Q: What do you like to do when you go the farm?
A: I like riding the tractor with Papa, riding the 4-wheelers, playing with my cousins, running around, swinging, playing baseball, and having lunch with everyone.

Q: Why do you like to go with Nana and Papa?
A: Because Nana plays with me outside, and Papa lets me drive the tractor.

Q: What is your favorite animal at the farm?
A: Cows

Q: Share something special about your trips to the farm.
A: My Aunt Karen has a lot of piggy banks, and keeps a special one for me and all of my cousins. Mine is the Batman one, and she gives me coins to put in it when we go to visit.

– The Wheelers (Brandon, Krystol, and Owen)

 

Missing the Farm

As Owen’s grandparents, Danny and I see things through a different lens. This pandemic has profoundly changed the lives of everyone in our country in one form or another. We recognize many are facing far more complicated adjustments than ours, but the part that has affected us most personally is the loss of face time with Owen that we know we will never get back. Prior to this interruption, I picked him up from school 2–3 times a week and we spent the afternoons finding all sorts of fun ways to fill our time together. Every day I looked forward to finding teachable moments. When school closed at the beginning of Spring Break, those afternoon visits with Nana went away as well. I miss that beyond measure. I’ve already learned through experience how fleeting these precious moments are with our little ones.

We have all missed our trips to the family farm. Owen loves going there with us and always gets so excited when he finds out we are going to spend the day. There are almost always extended family members joining us and we all do everything together. We love taking him for rides on the back of the 4-wheeler, helping him climb up into the cab with Papa to go for rides on his tractor, pushing him and his cousins in the front yard swing, cooking and eating outside, helping the kids play soccer, tossing the baseball, putting puzzles together, eating popsicles, doing crafts, watching the cows, filling the piggy banks, playing with the puppies, and running.

Owen especially loves running! He looks for reasons and makes up games where he can run farther and faster. His cousins can never keep up, and he really enjoys that little slice of paradise. He even told us all one day to “stand back and watch how the master does it.” (Humility is not yet one of his strong suits.)

The farm is still one of our most favorite places for making memories, and we all long for the day when we can get back to the peace we always found there and the laughter and fun we always shared with our family.

– Phyllis Brockermeyer (Nana)


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