A little normal

Dave and I both had huge weeks at work. Mine meant I missed a number of bedtimes, which is rare! Especially these days. But we got to have one of the most wonderful weekends in recent memory. Some friends of ours with an older (and lovely!) kid all recently recovered from Covid, meaning they could all come over and we could share a meal together. It was so exciting to cook for friends! I don’t know who was more thrilled, us or the kids. It was hard to let them go home at the end of the night, and we are looking forward to doing it again soon.

We got a lot of cleaning and cooking done, with the kids playing games of their own creation while Dave and I got through the work. Lots of snuggles, laughter, reading, even some performances to enjoy from other arts groups in town. Saturday night, the girls all snuck into the boys room and they had a secret sleepover. As cute as that sounds, let’s just say we were not impressed with the results! Holy tired children Batman! Still, despite a few kids taking spontaneous naps, we continued to have a relaxing weekend full of family time.

As much as we have enjoyed getting out of the house on the weekend, finding adventures in national parks or even in the park just across the street, there was something almost divine about staying snug and warm at home by a fire. I think we’re all feeling a little better about going into another week, now that we have re-grouped. None of us won being housebound to become a new normal, but let’s just say it’s easier to hunker down with gorgeous but cold snow all around.


Working, studying, wandering

For the first six months of Covid, we pretty much hunkered down at home and outside. Frankly, no complaints! The kids did a great job of entertaining themselves with what we had, and sitting on the patio with friends wasn’t that different from a normal summer – a mask isn’t that big of a deal. Still, in the same way that I wondered how to approach opera without a theater or an audience, we started thinking through what Covid would allow us to do. Over the summer, the answer was to have camp at Sassy‘s house! The kids were there most of the week, and Dave and I joined them on the weekends. I know the kids love camp, and we were sad not to have them out making new friends all over the place, but we still had a pretty awesome summer.

I’ll be honest; fall was depressing. I work in an industry where gathering together is a critical piece of what we do, on stage and off. The kids going back to school in the fall is always a high energy and high enthusiasm part of the year. We all struggled to adapt to fall without the benefits of the things that make us tick. So, like most of the country, we wandered. We went for hikes across the state, learned to pack snacks, wipes, and layers. Honestly, for our kids who live close to all the different parts of their life, the drive was half the fun. Sometimes we take Leroy, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we plan a big adventure, and sometimes we hit the road and I pick somewhere to go as were driving. It doesn’t really matter. It’s a great opportunity to focus on what’s beautiful around us, and getting some space from the world.

I have friends and relatives who are true nature nerds, and I’m sure I could survive alone in the wild for weeks at a time. We do the clamping equivalent of hiking, and the kids can’t carry-on at a fast clip. They’re too busy looking at everything around them, darting into the bushes or making up stories for what happened in a ravine. it’s torture for a fast walker! But letting them set the pace means less whining, and ends up being really enjoyable for the grownups too. Turns out speed isn’t everything.

Lord knows how much longer we’re gonna be doing this. The vaccines are rolling out but it feels like forever until everyone in our house will get a shot in the arm. For a family that has been full steam ahead since the marriage that started all of this 11 years ago, it’s forcing us to learn how to slow down. That lesson can be a challenge sometimes, but you can’t truly wander unless you give yourself a little freedom to lollygag. Beautiful things happen when you are open to a detour, or a pause. So we stop and talk about frogs, or leaves. Inside adventures happened too – performances, cuddles, even the rare tiny reader sighting.

So as far away as a total return feels, we are also thinking through other ways to wander. Working and learning or not going to stop, but who says the adventures have to? Roaming is on our horizon, safe and isolated wanderings that we hope the kids will remember for a long time to come. as they get older and start going on adventures of their own, we want them to welcome the freedom of not knowing entirely what comes next.