It’s been a strange year. A year full of disappointments. I like to think set backs and tough times help us to grow and bloom. So in a year where we can easily list the canceled vacations, the back and forth of in person events like church and sports, I choose differently. Today I will put my energy into journaling the silver linings that have come out of these hard times.
People gripe and complain about how much time has been spent at home but I have seen a significant change in the sibling relationship between our three children. They play better together (most days) and have been more creative than ever. They have the time to be bored and think about some super crazy DIY projects. For example, they have been really into building their own Barbie accessories and home furnishings out of cardboard, paper and a handy glue gun to bring it all together!
The Home Addition
For over a year we built an addition to our home. It was a major distraction to my work, especially the voice over work I had been building up (which I still haven’t gotten back into because recording with three children and two puppies in the house is near impossible.) We finished the addition just before the first wave of corona hit in March 2020. We are so grateful for the extra space for our family. I am also so thankful my husband was home for work for those several weeks because he had extra time from eliminating his daily commute to help decorate the new space (let’s be honest, I decorate but he likes to hang things on the walls!)
Our oldest who is eleven took on a running challenge at the middle school this fall. It was to run 50 miles in 50 days. She asked for my help and this is my area of enjoyment! We would run before school or on her lunch break. It made for some great bonding time and guess what? She did it! She finished her last mile on the last day of the challenge! I am so proud of her because there were days she didn’t want to do it and would have to run extra on other days to make up for it. It was a learning experience about commitment, determination and procrastination too!
The Bike Challenge
Do you see a theme here? We like contests and challenges! We created a bike challenge where if we rode 100 miles before the kids went back to in person, we would get Just Dance 2020 for the kids as a prize. Did they complete the challenge? Almost! With Ruby’s running challenge, it made it a bit more difficult. But they were well past the halfway mark so we decided to get them the prize as a family gift for Christmas! This time together was good for our bodies, brains and hearts.
I have to admit, our kids weren’t overscheduled before the pandemic, but I may have been. I was on every committee under the sun on the PTA, working a full time job part time, another job at the gym teaching classes weekly, etc. The pandemic allowed me to really evaluate what I find joy out of and what I do out of guilt or that feeling of having to do it because I’ve done it for so long. So, I no longer teach fitness. I am no longer leading committees on the PTA (I told them I would help here and there once school is normal again.) I am also no longer sending Holiday cards out to 300 people. Yes, we were close to 300 between my husband’s work, my work and our personal list. THAT did not feel personal! I slapped a bunch of cards in envelopes and shipped them out. This year I bought old fashioned cards instead of expensive family photo cards and wrote messages to a select few elderly family members. It felt more personal. I have friends who disagree with this one but to each their own! Maybe next year I will reevaluate but I have a hard time narrowing down my list! I am a social butterfly!
We got a puppy. Yes, the above header is plural. We got a puppy named Harry who we fell head over heels in love with. Then we got another puppy named Honey. #wecrazy It’s been great having so many people to help take them for walks and out for potty training. When else will we all be home so much? Perfect time to get a puppy, or two:)
I love, love, LOVE the mornings. They are slow. There is time for coffee with Dave. There is time to read books with my kids. Dave cooks breakfast for the kids (ever since March he has started doing this!) There is time to workout (or time to shower, but not for both before school and work starts!) There is minimal rushing around. I love it and want to incorporate this into our life when school gets back into session.
All the Disappointment to Leave Behind
-Missed vacation to the mountains
-Missed work trip to sign books (Sunny Side Upbringing) at the largest book trade show (Book EXPO) which they now are cancelling forever.
-Missed holidays with loved ones
-Missed birthdays with loved ones
-The death of my super loving brother in law
-Sunday Suppers at our house
-All five of our family getting Covid-19 at the same time
But we are stronger having lived through disappointments. Honestly, there are so many more if I think about it but I have already moved on from having to BE SAFE to SAVE OTHERS. Our children are learning so much flexibility and resilience in all of this. That’s another silver lining is the character it is building in us all.