Time Out for the Grandson – Priceless

Reader Contribution by Joan Pritchard
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When I was young and busy raising my two sons, I had the misfortune of living hundreds of miles from my parents and my farm “home.”   My sons missed out on the nurturing offered by close grandparents during the year, a situation I will always regret.  I wanted my sons to know my parents and I wanted them to know something about the experience of farming and raising plants and animals.  Every summer we combined our efforts to travel those hundreds of miles to take them and return them to give them a one month stay at the farm.  As a result, they learned to love and value the people and way of life called farmers and farming.

Although I lost my farm house last fall to fire, I am still a farmer at heart and spend much of my time in gardens and around the farm.  This year, my youngest son and his wife participated in the first grandson visit to Kansas, and we had a wonderful introduction to “living the good life” in a state saturated with simple living.

If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area near grandchildren, see them frequently, or perhaps even see them daily because they live on the next farm, my two weeks of heaven won’t seem like much to you.  But if you are experiencing the joy of a summer visit, as I just did, you will be able to add much to my list of “priceless” moments.

1) Cool temperatures in Kansas in July meant 85 degree days and a cool breeze.  We could visit the farmers market, swim without baking our brains, and camp at the farm.  He may remember this as the way Kansas is every year.  Ha!

2) Fireflies were everywhere this week!  We haven’t seen them for years, but he had a chance to fill a gallon jar with the family kids.  Is that not cool?

3) Good friends invited us to a 4th of July picnic complete with crazy chasing games, watermelons, and fireworks.  A near midnight shower to remove the chiggers brought this question – “Grandma, what’s a chigger?’  And I had promised to send him home with fingernail polish on his bites! Chigger count upon return – zero.  Go figure.

4) When life required that we do errands, I wanted them done as quickly as possible so we could do more important things.  My fast pace brought this comment – “Grandma, you sure walk fast for your age.”  (Sigh)

5) Visits included field trips to gardens and some time that must have been tedious for a small kid.  He already knew how to entertain himself and took up with the resident cats we found.  Some of the best times were with my Sissy cat slung over his shoulder.  Love conquers all.

6) We visited as many local interest areas as possible and even I was surprised at how interesting some of the Kansas highpoints are.  Maybe it will never be his home state, and maybe small scale farming is a lifestyle of the past, but he will form an idea of its importance. Never once did he appear bored or disinterested.  

So my two weeks of wonderful are over and I return to normal, but I hope each of us recognizes our ability to make magic for a child.  It may be baiting a hook, going to the animal farm, eating a “roastin ear,” or making home-made ice cream, but what powerful memories we have to give.

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