Our calendar is full this month. While chaperoning a school field trip this past week, it hit me: This is the most exhausting, fun-filled, overscheduled month I’ve had since 2019, what now feels like a former life. Here are seven simple reasons why May 2021 might be our most marvelous month yet:

The return of school music concerts added to a marvelous month of May, says Katie Pinke after attending her fifth-grade daughter's first beginner band concert at Northwood Public School, Northwood, N.D. Photo taken May 10, 2021. (Katie Pinke / Agweek)
The return of school music concerts added to a marvelous month of May, says Katie Pinke after attending her fifth-grade daughter's first beginner band concert at Northwood Public School, Northwood, N.D. Photo taken May 10, 2021. (Katie Pinke / Agweek)

  1. School music concerts. Somehow music teachers, like their classroom counterparts, found a way to plow through a pandemic while still teaching music to our children. We attended our fifth-grade daughter’s first elementary band concert this month. I promised back in January I would never complain about a beginner band concert again. We’ve attended numerous school music concerts through the years but this one felt more earned, deserving and a true representation of how much kids can learn in a matter of months — all while dealing with numerous COVID-19 restrictions. It amazes me they went from not knowing how to even hold an instrument to learning notes and performing recognizable songs as a band.

  2. Track and field meets — and golf, soccer, tennis, softball and baseball games. Track and field season is my favorite. After a hiatus, we’re back with a seventh-grade thrower in our family. Attending spring track meets without cold winds or snow this past month brings me long-awaited contentment. Sitting outside at a track meet is a favorite pastime I deeply missed

  3. The 2020/21 school year will come to an end. Educating kids in a pandemic varied among school districts. But I think it is safe to say we all grew an even deeper appreciation for educators, staff and administrators who faced difficult decisions. A year ago, when we ended the school year distance learning, I am grateful none of us fully knew what was ahead for the 2020-21 school year. I am weary but I am intensely proud of all of us — those who helped cheer on a child or children as well as teachers, staff, substitute teachers, distance educators, administrators, bus drivers, coaches, cooks and janitors. Well done — and thank you.

  4. Graduation announcements and wedding invitations. Knowing that people we care about get to have their own special day and celebration this year after so many missed out or had to postpone these milestones in 2020, makes this month feel familiar but extra special. I love to think about the possibilities and promises that come from new beginnings.
  5. 4-H projects. Our daughters started walking their heifers this winter. While they have never shown cattle before, they are putting in the work for their beef projects as well as completing other projects in preparation for a summer county fair. I never was an active 4-H member, but I have spent the past eight years actively participating as a parent and volunteer leader. I love the variety of learning, doing and skill development in a plethora of areas. Seeing our daughters finalize their 4-H projects this month builds excitement and anticipation of family summer fun.
  6. Memorial Day programs and gatherings. The events around Memorial Day planned for later this month show me rural America is returning to traditions and a way of life I loved when growing up and continue to bring out kids to learn and know. I’m looking forward to flag raisings, parades, programs and dinners honoring those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms and country. Memorial Day observance is important for our cultures, communities and country.
  7. The return of safely gathering. This month, my extended family is gathering for a family burial and another time to celebrate a postponed anniversary and birthday. Despite the calendar not saying it, late May always feels like the start of summer — and the anticipation and excitement of reuniting after COVID-19 brought all that to a halt in 2020. Most of all, I am grateful for the health and freedom to safely gather this year. We’re vaccinated — and there will be plenty of hand sanitizer to go around.

Decide what brings you joy this month. Make your month marvelous with the community around you. For the farmers and ranchers, I think of timely rain, green pastures with cows and calves and growing crops despite drought conditions. The month of May brings renewed hope — and the most marvelous month we’ve had in a long time.

To read more of Katie Pinke's The Pinke Post columns, click here.

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Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at kpinke@agweek.com, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.