Walking to and from yoga on a sunny, brisk Fall day, I couldn’t help but smile as I realized I had started to unconsciously kick through the mounds of leaves along my path. Thoughts flooded my brain, bringing back the little girl, who loved to compete with my brothers to see who could rake up the biggest pile of leaves, the fastest. What a Game, that was!
Sometimes, my mother used pure genius when it came to creating work scenarios that we actually ended up wanting to do.
Basically, the game was to rake as hard and fast as we could to see who could rake the biggest pile. After the whole yard was raked into a few piles, with my mom also raking to supervise us…- The Prize was that we got to jump, roll around and play in the leaves after they were raked up.
They made great crunching sounds and smelled amazing and were just so much fun to play in! I have always loved Fall leaves.
And yes, we had to rake again some afterwards. But usually we were laughing so hard from being crazy and silly, that we didn’t mind. Our dog, Bullet, usually joined in the chaos too. Leaves flew everywhere!
So often we forget that loving comes in the form of giving through experience as much as giving materially.
Sure, I loved to get presents and nice things from my parents when I was younger, but there aren’t many ‘things’ I received, that I recall as being significant.
Yet, I've benefitted my entire life from the gift of learning to work side by side with others, and learning that play comes after the job is done……..and that challenging work and a little competition can make the work more fun!
Those gifts, mainly from my mom, have been instrumental in all sorts of success in life. The loving gift she gave us by taking the time to teach us, supervise us and hold us accountable to do our share of the tasks - those are gifts that keep on giving throughout my life.
Finding fun in work is a learned skill that my mom taught us well.
Even more impactful than the lessons I learned, I cannot walk through leaves without feeling the presence of my two brothers. The older of my brothers is no longer alive. How much more value do those leaves and memories bring me? How much more love?
Yes - just priceless, those memories of the three of us playing in the yard every Fall. I smile to think of him, and then I cry a bit. But that’s ok, because the overwhelming feeling I have is love and joy.
My mom had no foreshadowing of my brother dying as a father of young children and only in his mid years of life. None of us knew the significance of those many years of raking leaves and doing lots of other chores together as a family - usually fighting and arguing and playing and laughing, all mixed in together. Great Family Times!
Loving through experiences, that is the love I cherish the most.
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