Saturday Sabbath

Moving to a new home has meant changing some of our patterns, traditions and practices. Our move coincided with our retirement, which also invited a change in routines. We don’t feel like we are settled into a whole new pattern, and some of our practices are evolving as we returned to work part time and now that we are preparing to move to a home in a different community. Another thing that disrupted many routines, including ours, is the pandemic. Our lives weren’t as altered as those who shifted from working in offices to working from home or as teachers who shifted from in-person classes to online teaching and back to in-person classes. But simple, everyday things like grocery shopping and occasionally going out to eat were changed by the pandemic and our attempts to be safe for ourselves and others.

One thing that is emerging from all of this is our new Saturday routine. Our daughter-in-law is a therapist who has a private practice. To juggle her responsibilities at work with her family and farm responsibilities, she sees clients only on Saturdays. She pretty much goes all day long, seeing a large number of clients in a single day. Then she takes another part of a day during the week for management tasks such as insurance, scheduling, continuing education and such. When we first moved, our grandchildren were being home schooled and we started to help with home school on Thursdays to free up time for her to pursue her practice. It turns out that offering therapy on Saturdays is very popular and she has a full schedule with all of the clients she can manage.

It also means that Saturdays are days with Daddy at their house. Mother wakes before the rest of the family and goes to her office. Dad is responsible for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as bathing the kids and getting them to bed on Saturdays. His work is Monday through Friday. Sundays are family day for their household, when everyone is at home. Now that the kids are back in school we are no longer needed for home schooling on Thursdays, but we have gotten into the pattern of spending a few hours on Saturdays with the family. It gives us meaningful time with our son and we get to see his interactions with his children as well. Usually we have lunch with their family on Saturdays, trying to contribute to the process as well as enjoy the family.

Days with Daddy have a different routine and sometimes a different menu than other days of the week. There is often a meal from a cafe or restaurant, mostly carry out, and there is usually some kind of adventure. Before the pandemic Saturdays were days for exploring museums, exhibits and libraries. When in-person visits were restricted, the adventures shifted to walks, parks, and other outdoor adventures. We’ve explored a lot of places that have outdoor playgrounds within a 25-mile radius of the farm, and we know most of the nature centers and places with walking trails in the area.

Saturdays are also usually days with at least one farm or household chore that we tackle together. There is always a home improvement chore that needs doing. Over the winter last year, we milled and fitted baseboards in the home to match the other trim work in the 100-year-old house. Our son got really good at matching stain colors and we both got experience at measuring and making miter cuts. Not every corner in the old house is square. Getting things to fit requires a bit of finesse.

We also have tackled plumbing repairs and other home improvements. There are also plenty of farm chores including mowing, tending the orchard, harvesting crops, caring for chickens, and making repairs to farm out buildings. I really enjoy working side by side with our son and often one or more of the children gets engaged in the process, learning about tools and techniques for repair. We have a shared shop at the farm, and have amassed a respectable collection of tools.

I find myself looking forward to Saturdays. It is a familiar feeling for me because when we were working full time in Rapid City, Saturdays were often a day when I could work at the wood pile with other volunteers who cut, split and delivered firewood to our partners for distribution to those who needed the wood for heating assistance. The physical work was a good contrast and balance to the desk work that was part of my job.

When our children were at home, Saturdays were also special days. It was the day of the week when our children were home from school and we parents did not have to work. We tried to have special family time.

Since we have always worked on Sundays, Saturdays have become a sabbath day for us. It is a special day that stands out from the rest of the week, set aside for rest and restoration. The activities of the day have been different at different phases of our lives, but it has long been a day to which I look forward each week.

In the next couple of weeks we will tackle the job of moving to our new home. Once we are settled in that place we will be more than 20 miles closer to our son’s farm. That means less time driving and more time for other activities. It also means that we will be able to stop by the farm more often and will be able to have grandchildren at our home on school days. Since they have returned to school this fall, we have been on the list of those who can pick them up from school, but so far we haven’t had the opportunity to do so because we aren’t the ones closest to the school at that time of the day. That is about to change.

We may change our routines with a new home, but one thing will remain. Saturdays will be special days for our family.

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