Wednesday, May 27, 2020

People I Love

During these crazy times, we are spending an intense amount of time with our family members. My children can go from absolute best friends to furious enemies in shocking speed. We are all experiencing rapid mood changes, but we are learning how to navigate it one day at a time. After the initial shock of how our lives would be limited, we settled into somewhat of a new routine. We got used to spending all this time together and knowing when to give each other space, even in the confines of our home. Before this, I don't think I spent this much time with my husband on a day to day basis. I was worried that we would get on each other's nerves and that we would get in each other's way. It is true that we sometimes race to be the one to take the dog out for a walk. We occasionally bicker about little things or disagree on how late the kids should stay up, but overall I am so happy that he is the person I get to spend this time with. My husband is my best friend. We have seen each other through some pretty dark and crazy times since we have been together. He is accepting, understanding, patient and loving. This whole situation has brought me even closer to him. He makes me laugh, and he holds me when I cry. Before the pandemic, we had many conversations, but they have been rushed, or interrupted. With all this time together, we have more opportunity to grow closer. He is encouraging, inspiring and supportive. The two of us have never been homebodies, so this initially was quite challenging not getting to go anywhere, but that doesn't stop his enthusiasm. He keeps going and comes up with new ways to create projects and work that inspires him. When we met, he worked in A&R for Columbia Records. He went to music shows most nights of the week. He loved his job and would always share music he enjoyed with me.. The music industry collapsed and he had to reinvent himself a few times over. I have never met another soul so resilient and industrious. He choses new paths to try often and never gets intimidated. It is a testament to his parents, who believed in their children and didn't just tell them they could do anything, but showed them how. My husband has always invested in real estate, been involved with music in some way, and has even dipped his foot into the restaurant world. A few years ago, he approached a friend of his to host a live show at a nightclub. After a successful run, he turned it into a radio show and then wanted to make it into a TV show. He had never produced television in his life, but he didn't let that stop him. Before too long, he was pitching his concept to HBO and Amazon, just to name a few. He and his friend ended up getting two seasons of the show picked up and aired. The night the first episode was shot, I walked on to this huge set filled with audience members, a crew, and Norman Lear as a guest being interviewed. My husband looked so swanky and handsome in his jacket. He was nervous and sweating, but didn't show it. I walked up to him, looked around and then took his hand and said, “You did this.” I was so excited for him. I am beyond grateful that he is my husband, and that my children get to have a father like him. He values family, connecting with his children, and being available to them. Before my eyes, he is passing on his parents message to our children. He helps them to believe in themselves confidently. Above all, he loves them and loves me, and he shows it. This is the life I dreamt of. Even during this time, as gushy as it sounds, he brings the life back into quarantine life. I never tire of taking in our children and admiring them with him. I often make him look at them with me and say, "Look what we did!" Together, we are a good team. This strange new life that we have will continue to challenge us and our children, but I picked the best teammate for the ride.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Doers Do

Everyone I know is dealing with their own version of cabin fever right now. If you are stuck inside with loved ones, there is bound to be a time where you get annoyed with them. As humans, I don't think we were meant to spend this much time in our homes with other people. Considering all that is going on in the world, and here at home, we are doing well. It brings out some interesting elements of our personalities, and my own inability to relax is not helpful right now.

I have never been called lazy, I have been called "the energizer bunny" more than a few times though. Getting things done makes me feel accomplished. I like checking things off a list, stacking them up and knocking them down. Despite the quotes that say "life's most important things aren't on a to do list" or, "to do: live in the moment," I feel I am living my best life presently when going down my to do list. I am not excited by laundry or running errands, but I am thrilled when I get them done. My lists also consist of fun projects, and in the face of this global pandemic, I planned on adding activities to my list such as baking, bread making, brushing up on my Italian, learning to knit or crochet, making scavenger hunts for my kids, listening to new music, reading more, doing yoga, meditation, taking a lot of walks, playing tennis, sewing, art, cooking, and watching movies. We are in week three  hundred now, and I have done all of those things on my list. We have way too many baked goods here, we demolished all of the sourdough bread, and I have a bunch of new homemade wares in my home. We are eating well, sleeping well, scavenger hunting, and spending quality time together. The only thing on my list I am struggling with is chilling out.

In the spirit of all things happening for a reason, I heard on the radio that people need to stop putting pressure on themselves to be productive during this time. As Americans we have this idea that we are not enough if we are not successful. That idea is definitely stuck in my head and I keep thinking about ways to slow down in a very slow time. When I stopped being the PTA president at my children's school, I wasn't sure how I would fill up that time. It took a week or two to adjust, but then I suddenly felt busy again. The woman who took over for me wasn't surprised -- she said, "you are a doer, and doers do." It is challenging for me to be at home and not see more things I need to do. I keep cleaning, de-cluttering, and organizing. I am not great at any of those things so I now have plenty of time to practice.

So in my attempt to do just a little less, I will only bake one thing today. I will watch more TV. I will cuddle my kiddos without having to let go. I will flip pages in my magazine and not read every single article. I will play whatever games, however many times my kids want to play them. I will wander when I walk, stop and chat (from a safe distance) when I see people. I will give myself a break if I don't do something important everyday. If I have learned anything so far from this time together, it is that we all needed to take a beat. I am so grateful for my family, even if we are getting on each other's nerves now and again. This will all blow over in a few months (or years)and there will be things about this concentrated period that we might just miss. I am going to take my time, and try to slow down and enjoy it, since we all know, we have it right now.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


This birthday will not be how my boy hoped it would be back when he started planning his eighth party shortly after his seventh birthday. He wanted a birthday party with a few friends and hoped to have his first slumber party. He has been dealing with each Corona-related piece of news fairly well. He hasn't shown a huge range of emotion when talking about his feelings directly related to the loss of his social life, but it comes out in other ways. This time has required us to ask a lot of our children. It is hard for us, and they look to us to be the strong ones. Just a glimpse of me unraveling in front of my kids and their eyes look like they might pop out of their heads. We are all human though, and I am not one to keep my feelings to myself. I am all over the map these days, so some days we cruise  that map together, other times we hit our own destinations.

My daughter is pretty independent with her schooling now. She knows what is expected of her assignments and keeps her own Zoom schedule. My husband is working from home and I am a newly appointed second grade teacher. My son is not at an age where he can independently go through his daily assignments. He has gotten better at keeping an eye on what his next activity is on his schedule but he needs quite a bit of hand holding. This has been extremely trying for both of us, but has also bonded the two of us tighter, even if on some days we could both use some space. My little (not for long) boy drove me to tears of frustration in a way I have never experienced before. He has also filled my heart in a way I didn't know was possible. There are some nights I just can't get enough hugs and kisses in. He likes to snuggle before bed and some nights I snuggle him tightly to the point of him asking me to please go. I will never cease to let him know how much I love him.

Here we are at eight years old already and I am so proud! I am not sure how these years are flying by so quickly but they are. I don't have any babies left so please pardon me, If I baby my last one for a long time to come. I told him he could have any food he wanted so we could make his birthday special, given the circumstances and he chose pizza for breakfast, In-And-Out for lunch, and sushi for dinner. He knows he will get to unwrap some presents and have dessert after dinner, but he doesn't know that we have the car decorated and ready to drive him to his friends to see them wish him a "happy birthday." Even if it is from a distance, I think it will be just what he needs right now.

When I think about him turning eight, there is so much unknown for what this year ahead holds for him, and for all of us. I know that between his sister, his father and myself he has the love department covered. He has a bunch of close friends, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents ready and waiting to high five and hug him when the time is right. Hopefully, sooner than later, and with any luck by the time you turn nine buddy, I will make good on that sleepover party.

Eight is great, and so are you sweet boy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Please Wait While We Put You On A Brief Hold

The last few Sunday nights, I get this pang when I remember that I am a teacher again come Monday morning. I have my degree in education, I love teaching children new things, but I was never going to be a classroom teacher, and certainly didn't plan on teaching my own children in a classroom of one. I have thought about homeschooling my children, but the thought was rather fleeting. My core belief is that the social interaction and life skills that comes from being with other people are such an important part of a child's education. I also feel that the space and time that my children and I spent away from each other during the school day are also an important part of my sanity.

I have embraced this time though and have even come to love a lot of it. To say that it is easy breezy and effortless would be a big fat lie. The emotions are big and colorful these days and there is a full rainbow of flavors hour to hour. My children are arguing, angry and annoyed with each other some of the time, and all of that is okay. I am trying to teach them the difference between being upset and being mean. One is okay and the other is unacceptable. I am also seeing growth and communication like never before. My daughter has been able to get upset, and then come around to say she overreacted. My son has learned to describe why he gets frustrated and that when his sister (who is always one step ahead of him) get's bossy, he doesn't like it. So much of the time I listen to both of them and end up saying, "I know, I agree with you, this is so hard."

There is so much we are getting out of all this time we have. My kids are being so much more creative with how they play. They are learning more life skills each day. I introduced my daughter to the vacuum and washing machine. My son learned how to clean baseboards and wipe the table down each night. They also learned, probably faster than I am learning, that so much in life is out of our control. We all got the news back in March that our lives were about to change, and each day it seemed the measures we had to stay healthy and protected were more drastic than the ones that came the day before. I know I got a crazy set of extreme emotions as a result of the news. I was scared, sad, disappointed, frustrated, resentful and on and on and on. On the days that it got hot, I walked by the recently closed pool in our neighborhood, and felt like it was teasing me from behind the locked gate. I got panicky behind my face mask when I felt too hot and wondered when and if things will ever be normal again.

I heard the news about school being closed for the rest of the school year and I couldn't process it. It seemed too hard to wrap my ahead around, and too far ahead in the future. This situation has forced me to stay in this moment, right here, right now. None of us know the answers. We could have never guessed how catastrophic a turn this virus would spin us in. I feel strange just even expressing all these feelings while some people are trying to adjust to losing someone they love to COVID-19. It's a pretty sucky time in the world and in some ways, I think being home on lockdown is the easy part. When the world slowly opens up again, I think it will be harder. Some people will have so much fear about being vulnerable to getting sick, while others will try to go back too quickly. It is taking us a while to adjust to all this change we are living with now, I wonder undoing the restrictions will cause even more shock to our systems.

I don't know much for certain these days, except that my kids have learned to deal with this change better than I have. This has resulted in them being so resilient and resourceful. While we wait, I am going to take some time learning from them. After all, I am getting a bit tired of being the teacher all the time.