08/5/20

Summer in full swing

This summer has been unpredictable, roller coaster-esque, and equal parts wondrous and tough. (Sounds like parenting, as I write this.) The joy of meeting Bianca, having a full house of incredible people at a time when so many are suffering from loneliness, and of working as a tribe to take care of each other, has been incredibly rewarding. We are so proud of the empathy and communication skills our kids have been refining and practicing on us and each other. Of course, two seconds later they say something heartbreaking about how lonely they feel without their friends.

We are busy with work, we’re setting up our childcare structure for the coming year, and for continuously adapting to new and changing information. That of course needs to be closely followed by translating it into child context, so the kids feel like they are in the loop. Every time we feel like we have found our rhythm, it changes. So we’ve had to adapt to change being the new rhythm. This week, that meant saying goodbye to Bianca after only 11 weeks. We knew she could only join us for a short time, so this wasn’t a surprise! But that didn’t make it any easier. The kids miss her, and so do we. At the same time, we are lucky enough to be preparing for our next Aupair buddy, Flora, to arrive at the end of next week! Switching to two au pairs sounds outrageous, but with five kids in four grades and potty training, that means no one falls behind. And yes, I recognize how immensely privileged we are that we can make that happen.

This transition signals the approaching school year, even though we are just at the end of July! A month of the kids living outdoors and the adults building towards the next round of changes at work flew by. Right after Flora arrives, Joy leaves. And that transition has been looming all year. The kids watch that day approach on the calendar, and are full of questions and sadness. We can’t change these circumstances and we can’t control how they’re going to happen. So we are choosing to emphasize how important growth and learning how to learn are to being a successful adult. And as these emotional and family changes happen on top of the already ever-changing landscape of a pandemic, we hope the kids pick up on our gratitude for all the time we’ve had together, for a living in the moment, for finding joy even if life doesn’t turn out the way you want it, and for how critical family is when life gets choppy.

Preparing for our week up north, and then recovering from that break from technology has taken up a lot of time. So we’re sorry for the gaps! The Groundhog Day affect means we are sometimes startled to have missed a week of blogging. We will get our act together again. 🙂 In the meantime, we are trying to be extra grateful for this breath before our newest household member arrives. More swimming, laundry, ice cream. Should be fun!

07/13/20

Growing up faster

When the kids are in school, our routine is driven by their needs and leaves little room for contemplation. They get bigger and smarter every day, and we marvel – but then are swept off into the next activity.

Weirdly, we’ve kind of switched places. The kids summer routine this year is pretty much playing outside all day every day. They’re tan, happy, tired and pretty freaking delighted. And Dave and I are the ones who “go off to school”. I spend most days in nonstop zoom meetings; he puts on giant headphones to code for hours at a go. He forgets to eat; I can’t leave my desk. We give the kids a quick kiss goodbye in the morning and, other than a quick hello for a coffee refill, don’t see them until dinner. (Remy actually said, “they have to let you out before dinner SOMETIME!”)

Imagine how sweet it was today to have Tess knock politely on my door and bring me a coffee during a meeting. Our chatterbox didn’t stop to interrupt and share her newest ideas. She just dropped it off carefully, squeezed my shoulder, and headed back out. Who is this enormous and thoughtful person?!

We’ve gone through the delight at being together more, the ready to kill each other phase, and now we seem to be adapting to whatever this waiting period is going to look like. The kids handled the canceled 4th of July parade with grace, and ask “stay away?” When we see friends and family from afar. There’s no more tears about it, even though I know we all miss hugging our peeps.

No one’s going to look back at 2020 with fondness, but this blunt force reminder of just how easy it is to impact each other for the better gives me hope for however long we’re on forced family quality time. The guilt we harbor over being so physically close and yet unavailable is waning – we’re here and they know it. And that cup of coffee was a lovely reminder that they remember we’re around too, even when out of sight.

So as we potty train for the last time (please god, let this take!) and buy bigger clothes for our stretched up 3rd grader to be, we’ll take note of the less obvious growth spurts happening here. And we’re watching more carefully. I’m pretty sure you CAN watch grass grow these days, so the kids’ changes should be easy to track.