Finding the spark amid snuffed out events

It's been a tough few months on kids as events and activities are canceled.

Everett Rudolph had lost his "spark" through cancellations and missed opportunities. But a birthday kayak has returned his enthusiasm, which also spread to his sister, Vivian. (Brenda Rudolph, Special to Agweek)

Everett’s birthday is the beginning of May. We as a family look forward to his birthday because it means summer is around the corner, warmer and longer days are getting closer.

For the past two months, we have been kind of lost in our house. So many disappointments have occurred, for an almost 11-year-old, it was beginning to be difficult to be optimistic or look forward to things that once brought excitement. I have seen my son usually filled with hope of “it will get better” to just simply shrugging his shoulders when another cancellation happens. The only way I can describe it is “he is checked out.” I know it is the reality of where we are at now but to see his fire and hopeful nature slowly become dim was hard to see happen. There was nothing I could do but reassure his disappointments are validated and very real.

The week before his birthday, Everett began counting down the days to his birthday. Vivian every morning would wake up asking what day it was wondering if it was Everett’s birthday yet. I was beginning to think of ways I could make his day extra special, but I was coming up at a loss.

Nathan has run over Everett’s bike twice. Once with the pickup a couple years ago and once with the tractor earlier this year. You would think each time was Everett placing his bike where it shouldn’t be but actually both times were Nate’s doing. The first time Nate was able to make repairs and have the bike in working order. The tractor versus the bike, well it was unrepairable. Bent almost in half, both pedals missing, a flat tire and bent sprocket was meaning a new bike was going to happen.

Nate and I had decided Everett would get a new bike for his birthday, Everett knew this and was looking forward to this. Everett was concerned how he would be able to pick out his bike in person. I had reassured him we would figure it out and he would be able to pick out his own bike.


It seemed to be we are not the only family in the market for a new bike. There were only two options for Everett and neither one was a good fit for him. I noticed a kayak. We have a pond. The price was about the same for a bike verses a kayak. I asked Everett “Would you rather have a bike or a kayak?” Everett looked it over and ran through the pros and cons of both. He picked the kayak.

Everett has found his spark back. The day after his birthday, he spent about six hours on the pond kayaking around. Each time he gives me a play by play of what he found. He has found comfort in the calmness of the water. One morning I heard him tell Vivian they needed to get down to the pond because that is when everything comes out.

Brenda Rudolph shares rural family life on her blog Follow along on Raising a Farmer on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Contact her at

Brenda Rudolph
Brenda Rudolph

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