I have two strong, independent and loving godmothers. Quite a few Christmases ago, the three of us decided, instead of getting each other gifts, we would gather one or two times a year to hang out - talk about life, and share many laughs and maybe a few tears together. Whether it's just for an afternoon or an overnight at one of our houses, these gatherings are ones I look forward to each year. Plus, I've been able to get to know Mary and Libby on much deeper levels than I ever would just buying them a gift (even though gifts are nice every once in awhile). These are memories I cherish, and I will always hold dear in my heart in the future.
When it comes to showing love and appreciation, I can bypass fancy gifts or extravagant items. I like spending quality time with people.
Maybe part of it stems from my younger years doing chores with my family. What better quality time is there than milking cows with Dad while singing and dancing along to the radio? Or feeding calves with my mom while she shows me which calves she thinks have a lot of potential for the future? Or the summer when my brother, Andrew, and I did the majority of the milking because my dad had hernia surgery. I may have grumbled a little (OK, a lot since I'm not a morning person) while getting out of bed each morning, but Andrew and I still joke about how we needed our morning snacks of Mountain Dew and Cheerios in between switching milkers in the tiestall barn. (Don't worry, we counteracted the pop with plenty of milk during breakfast after morning chores.)
Not too long ago, Andrew and I were able to spend a little quality time together while milking one evening. It was a rare occasion since I don't do chores much anymore, so I enjoyed being back in the barn and talking to him. And even though it had been awhile since I had milked, the familiarity of the routine was a comfort to me. I slipped on my milking gloves, grabbed the dips and paper towels, picked up the milkers and got right to it.
Although Andrew and I live in the same town, our busy schedules and young families can be an easy excuse not to gather. But I know I should make more of an effort. As life continues to roll along, I've come to realize finding quality time to spend with others can be tough, but definitely worth the effort to figure out the details.
A good reminder was during our most recent trip to visit Jordan's grandparents in Ely, Minn. We enjoyed chatting with Grandpa Bob and Grandma Shirley, and being able to see them interact with Eleanor. It was the same with our visits across town with Grandma Tootsie and Grandpa Sugar. I will forever have a vision engrained in my memory of Eleanor blowing Grandpa Sugar a kiss and him slowly taking his fingers to his smiling lips to send one back. As we were leaving, I said goodbye, put a hand softly on his shoulder and said, "See you next time, Grandpa." At that moment, "next time" could have meant our next trip north or in a different lifetime. Only God knew the answer. Grandpa Sugar died on Wednesday of this week I know life is not infinite, but it's still hard when a loved one you know passes away. Although we are planning another trip to see the other grandparents again this summer, it will have a different feeling without Grandpa Sugar.
What I know is that I want to make sure the time I spend with people is quality. Rather than saying, "We should plan something sometime," I'll just pull out my calendar right away to find time.
So, Mary and Libby, what is your summer looking like?