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.

06/22/20

Summer to the rescue

The zoom graduation parties, the last assignments, and suddenly it’s summer. I don’t know who’s more shocked – us, the kids, or the au pairs. Today, the kids spent the day at the pond at Sassy’s house, gallivanting around in the sunshine.

Summer isn’t perfection. It doesn’t solve all the problems. BUT it puts parenting back on a timetable we manage. We’re not talking kids down from a fit in time for their class call. A time out is a time out, and we can make it happen when and where we need to. Same goes for snuggles, tickling, a story – life.

Today, Dave and I worked in an empty house. It felt so weird! But in this busy world, knowing the kids have a summer of freedom and play ahead of them is comforting. So as weird as the silence is, we embrace unplugging from the agenda – even if the cause of that freedom sucks.