By Lola Harmon Ramsey
A few years ago I had a mentor who is a very experienced and successful businessman. We were talking one day and the topic of “busy” came up. I tend to personally thrive being busy. Two young children, a husband, a small business to run, volunteering with other organizations, doing all-the-things. I like to be busy. My mentor on the other hand brought up how we glorify busy and that perhaps, busy is a choice.
That really hit me that particular day and I began to notice how whenever you would ask someone at any stage of life how they were doing, they would most often reply, “Good! Busy!” I tried to stop explaining to others I was busy when they asked me how I was. For example, my busyness is different from my grandmother's sense of busyness. Heading to the local fitness center and a dentist appointment in one week is busy for her. Many of us do that and more in a morning. I know it’s relative to where you currently are at in your life.
But now, due to our state mandated stay at home order, I’m not busy like I used to be. My once full calendar is empty. My current task is to be home with my family and keeping their young brains turning enough to stay positive and healthy.
My husband and I own a small recycling company that is still deemed essential for waste management services. We are seeing volumes of recycling that are near holiday levels. With everyone at home they are generating a lot of waste and recycling. While my husband continues to run the hauling operation I do what I can at home to keep things running smoothly. I know our work is not as important as the task we have all currently been given. To stay home unless your job is essential or you need to get food or medicine.
Instead of just being busy I’m choosing to be grateful. The outpouring of support I have seen within my community this last week has been heartwarming. School buses heading out to deliver lunches to children. Teachers creating packets and lessons online for our students to complete. Teenage baggers offering to deliver groceries to those who cannot leave their homes. Artists and educators doing online demonstrations for anyone that wants to participate. Fitness classes streaming for free to keep us moving with them. The list grows every day.
Now that my children and I are on week two of being home together we have had some wins and a few losses as well. The family favorite was dusting off our old gaming table and teaching the kids how to play blackjack. Who knew counting to twenty one could be so much fun? We have done countless science experiments and I even caved and made the dreaded slime.
We have baked treats together and I’ve made more sit down dinners with serving dishes on the table this past week than I have in the last year. I have played more games of “PIG” than I can even count, and we have tracked many miles of walking through the neighborhood while enjoying the progress of our neighbors crocuses beginning to bloom. I wouldn’t have had any of these experiences if I would have been busy doing something else.
Currently, there is too much screen time happening and some of us are having a sad day here and there at home. I worry for my children who have faced enormous disappointment and frustration with so many changes that are out of our control. My daughter won’t be able to perform in that middle school play she was working on. My son won’t get to swing that new bat for little league he has been waiting months to participate in. Spring break is a no go for sure because that airplane won’t be taking off at all. These may be trivial compared to the struggles of others but for my children they are very real and very sad. We have learned new coping skills already.
For now I need to get back to the home made ping pong table game we are making. I for one am counting it as a STEM learning activity because we are cutting out cardboard and measuring out the folding table and finding all sorts of things to engineer to make this work. We will stay busy...
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