Coming back to life

Over the course of the tumultuous last 14 months, our blog has fallen by the wayside. With virtual school, virtual opera, virtual consulting, and roaming the wilderness as we were able, something had to give. We miss our people, online and off, and drew tightly into our own little family sphere, wearing deep groove patterns into our habitual paths. (I’m surprised we haven’t worn a hole in the floor in front of the coffee machine!) We simply gave up, on so many commitments. The exhaustion of steering this huge crew through this pandemic was simply too much.

Then the adults got vaccinated, and all breathed a sigh of relief. We still are a bit fuzzy on what feels okay, but we’ve returned to eating in small restaurants, and outdoor play dates. School moved to hybrid a few weeks ago, and we started performing live in a theater about the same time. It felt shocking, and exciting, and terrifying to contemplate our next chapter. We’ve decided all outdoor activities (that don’t involve a horde!) are cool for adults, and activities with one or two other families is ok for the kids.

School was tricky; it came down to weighing the risk of unpredictable returns home against the joy of returning to friends and normalcy. In the end, we felt the risk of disrupting their schedule so close to the end of the year wasn’t worth it. As we felt at the beginning of the year, there’s simply no “right” answer. We went with what would be easiest for the kids. At least one of them is very worried about COVID; this choice gives us more time to address that anxiety.

As winter loomed, I remember feeling quasi desperate. How would we possibly survive so many months without our outdoor living room?! We bought adult snowsuits and set up the garage, but it’s a lot harder for kids. As the weather warms up, we’re thrilled to let them at the playground again, let them chat with the neighbor kid and start private tae kwon do classes. We may not be back in school, but we are coming back to life a step at a time.

So as we slowly re-examine and commit to what our new normal will look like, until the kids can get vaccinated anyway, we are so grateful for sunshine, understanding friends, and the umpteen joys of a Wisconsin summer. On our first hot day, the kids went skinny dipping in the pond at Sassy’s house after lunch. They got filthy, laughed their heads off, and demanded a golf cart ride and multiple desserts, which Sassy happily provided. With a summer like that ahead, who can complain?

And as we all spend more time out of our house and each other’s hair, our parental exhaustion is incrementally lower day by day. So we return to our weekly reflections, and to giving you a window into what life in our family looks like. Welcome back! To all of us.


Tripping into spring

Sorry for the gaps in writing. It’s been an intense few months! It takes a lot to get me to a breaking point, but I sure found it. Dave sent me packing for a few days at the cabin, a working retreat. I got a ton of catching up done, but I also got a staunch reminder about being an introvert. No one believes me when I say that, but the intense relief I felt, working in solitude for a couple days, can hardly be described in words. Simple cooking for one, setting my own schedule, letting my overthinking run wild then run down – I have no words.

I was chatting with someone about their recent getaway. They mentioned not understanding how tense and pent up they’d been until they stepped away. I agree. I don’t think I can unpack all of Covid in two days, but I’m sure processing a lot. Leaving the kids is really hard. I know I come back such a better parent, but they’re growing up so fast I hate to miss a single day. Still, I’m no good to anyone this fried.

I have a true life partner. He seems to have boundless understanding for who I am, and I can only hope that I’m supporting him half as well as he supports me. So when we talk about the burden on moms during the pandemic, I usually stay pretty quiet. I’ve got a lot of help at home, and our school is doing an incredible job. (If you have to deal with virtual school, I can only hope you’re in a similar setup. I am so impressed with these teachers and kids!) but man! I am feeling that pressure right now. And if I’m feeling it, I can only imagine what families with less help are going through.

The fabled “return” is on the horizon. We inch toward a return to school/work/performance/live. And seemingly every day, someone else in our circle is vaccinated. I know we’re in the home stretch. But oh my god, it can’t come soon enough. The ache from missing our people is intense. The friendships that have intensified during this only make us want to reconnect more. And with the anniversary of the original lockdown AND three of our kids’ birthdays coming in the next 10 days, I suspect more processing is coming.

Hugs to all of you. You are appreciated, missed, loved, and thought of often. Here’s to an early spring!