SLICE OF LIFE: Enjoy road bumps of life — especially during pandemic summer

By JACQUI L. HERSHBERGER

The other day, I drove to Wal-Mart. The radio was off, and I realized I was happily listening to the kerchunk, kerchunk, swoosh of the highway. And, it made me miss traveling. I imagined, for a bit, that I was on my way to another state instead of on a grocery run.

Later on in the day, I drove to Millersburg to have a pandemic-approved (socially distanced, outdoor, hand sanitizer, separate bathroom) visit with a cousin, and I felt carsick after all those turns. I guess I just haven’t been leaving the house much!

After all that going for someone who has been staying home, I was exhausted! I came home and crashed. I think that us introverts, those who get energy by being alone, have not been as affected by this spring. It’s the extroverts, those who get energy from being with others, who have suffered the most. Home. It’s the one place right now that is “normal.”

Following all the guidelines in public places makes me tired. You have to think so much.

Let’s just face it, summer is going to be different this year. And, school is officially out. But, when your kids have been home since the middle of March, how do you make the summer feel different? And, what is safe to do? My friend told me that NPR had a list of 14 summer activities and how experts rated their risk factors. Some of the medium to low risk factors are included here. The whole site can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ybjy9jqb.

Here are 10 things we are going to try, in no particular order:
1. Replace the schoolwork time with cleaning and organizing time at home. Although they may face this with a glare, I think they secretly like having something productive to do. And, if you have steps written down, you may be surprised how much they can accomplish. Swapping winter gear with summer flip flops; organizing their toys in the garage; cleaning off a porch, etc. are some ideas.
2. Write a list of things you’d like to do over the summer. This could be on a huge posterboard, or just on a piece of paper on the fridge. If you don’t get them all done by the end of the summer, it’s OK. It just gives some ideas.
3. Play with water. This could be in a pool, a sprinkler, water guns, a creek, washing the car (see No. 1).
4. Invite one other family or friend over for a backyard gathering, having them bring their own food and drink. Or, have a campfire and just sit around and talk.
5. Sleep outside. Some families may like to go to a campground, but that’s not our cup of tea.
6. Go on a hike or bike ride.
7. Help someone else. I’m thinking of having the goal of helping or encouraging at least one person outside of our household each week. Yard work, writing a card, donating food or money, etc.
8. Go to Orrvilla and play on the hill behind my grandma’s room. I think the residents would have fun watching kids roll down the hills and playing with bubbles.
9. Read paper and hardcover books (they can now be checked out from the Dalton Library again!)
10. Play outside. This summer when you are out and about, turn off the radio every once in awhile, feel the bumps in the road and enjoy them!

Jacqui L. Hershberger is a mom of three who resides in Sugar Creek Township. 

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