My family decided that the safest way to keep my elderly grandparents from catching COVID-19 was to dismiss the 24/7 helpers we used to have to take care of Grandpa and Grandma ourselves.
The following are the 10 realizations I've had after spending more time at my grandparents farm during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Make Sure There's Always Sweet Tea in the Fridge
You know it and I know it - the elderly love their sweets. Every time I hang out with someone with significantly more silver hair than not, I always notice a certain sweet thing is easily accessible. For my grandparent's on my dad's side of the family, the "always there sweet thing" is a small crystal bowl full of snack-size Snickers. For my grandparent's at the farm, their main sweet thing is sweet tea.
Because of them, I now have a sweet thing for sweet tea AND I know how to help replenish our stocks if they are running low. We have to make sure there's always sweet tea down here at the farm or else someone's going to be disappointed.
Don't Run the Washing Machine While People are Showering
Now, we can't have Grandpa or Grandma running out of hot water during their bath time! It's a pretty common sense thing in this ranch style house to wait to wash the clothes until after we've washed ourselves. Is it the same for you at your house? Let me know!
If You Kill A Mosquito, You're A Hero
If you open the door past 7:00 p.m. here, you're most likely inviting a whole bunch of mosquitos in for the night - which is bad because these mosquitos are hungry. They also leave big bites on us poor farm folk. Therefore, if you kill a mosquito, you're a hero down here in the boot heel of Missouri. I killed three one time while I was supposed to be having a normal bathroom break. A moment like that teaches you to always have your eyes open - and to not come in or out of the house, if you can help it, past 7:00 p.m.
Here It's Pronounced Missoura, not Missouri
Oh, those good ol' country accents. This is the house where my Mom and all her siblings grew up, and whenever my family comes down here from St. Louis (a big city in Missouri, if you didn't know), I hear her switch into her subtle country accent again. She doesn't even notice it until I point it out to her.
Over the years, my Mom's side of the family has lost the potency of its country slang and twang, but it's still there. I find it immensely funny they STILL call it "Missoura" instead of Missouri. I also think it is hilarious that a couple of times in July, Grandpa (who has hearing problems) was able to understand me better when I used a country accent to talk to him.
Impatience Saps Your Energy
Everyone - not just the elderly - loves repeating stories... or themselves. It could be anything from that recent scandal in the county next door or the story of your cousin shouting something silly out at a movie while they were a youngin. We love sharing stories, and usually we stick to our favorites.
I've found it's easier to just hear someone out if they are retelling a story you've heard a million times before, especially if their memory is going and they don't realize they've repeated this story twice that day already.
Story Time Giggles Can Cure Any Heartache
It's true! Do you remember the last time something just made you erupt into laughter? If you can't, it's been too long. Giggles and laughter can help boost your mood. Try to find a way to giggle and laugh every day.
People Buy Too Many Knick Knacks
I think it's important to have a couple of decorate knick knacks in the house and for every holiday, but most people buy more knick knacks than they need. My suggestion for you is to habitually get rid of old knick knacks or decorations you don't care for at least once a year. Then you won't be like me, going through boxes of old knick knacks in my grandparents basement, wondering why we have so many that never get used.
You Can Buy Lysol Wipes Here!
I don't know why, but you can buy Lysol wipes in rural towns easier than in the city! In St. Louis and when I lived in Washington, D.C., it would be very difficult to find any sanitizing wipes on the store shelves. When everyone was encouraged to wash off their groceries, it was a blessing to have easy access to Lysol wipes at the farm to wipe off the green onions, boxes of microwave popcorn, egg cartons, and more.
Everybody Needs an Outlet
Living a more stay-at-home, quarantined lifestyle has made me realize that everybody needs an outlet. Everybody needs a hobby or activity that helps them feel like themselves. My uncle likes mowing the grass. My aunt likes watching movies. My grandma likes shopping via catalogues. My grandpa loves reading up on the news. Everyone needs an outlet, something that makes them happy and more charitable towards others.
The sense of community is strong at the farm with my grandparents and other family members. Whether it's celebrating Christmas or eating breakfast daily around the kitchen table, we live life together here. The first time God said something wasn't good in the Bible was when he saw the man was alone in the Garden (without any other human beings). No one's every alone at the farm, praise God.
These are the top 10 things I've realized while being at my grandparents farm this year. I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know if you've had any interesting realizations during your COVID-19 experiences (doesn't have to be a rural thing).