Monday I sent my girls off to a place they love and have missed a lot: school. I don’t think there has ever been a first day of school that kids were more excited for than this one.
We were ready to go with outfits picked out, hair styles decided, backpacks and lunches prepared and info boards filled with this years likes and desires. My oldest still love magenta and math and wants to be an animator when she grows up. My youngest is smitten teal and painting and has recently become interesting in acting.
When they set out on their very first day of school at three years old, I shed more than a few tears. They were so tiny with giant backpacks and even bigger smiles. Today, it was a little different then the last few. They still have all the confidence in the world, but I have more worries and fears of the unique circumstances we are living.
I have never been a stay-at-home mom. The most I have been at home with them was during my maternity leave. It wasn’t something I ever really desired, I like getting out of the house and talking with adults.
When quarantine hit and the outside world all of a sudden got very scary, home became our safe space. We made our way through at home learning, some weeks better then others, celebrated a quarantine birthday for my oldest complete with drive by parade and took more bike rides and walks than I ever imagined we would. Our dog, Lenny, loved it.
As restrictions began to ease, we made our way out a little more, masks included. In general, I would say I’m an overly caution person and with a family member with health issues, I wasn’t going to become rebellious at this point.
Our favorite hang out was at the pool. The girls could see friends in an outdoor setting, I could chat with other moms about the crazy summer and we could get out of the house while having some fun.
We also were able to visit family in Michigan for our summer vacation. Originally, I had planned on a Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun family vacation in Kansas City but that was scrapped with to many unknowns still in play. The girls had a great time playing with their cousins and the adults were pretty happy to see each other, too.
Finding a balance between living scared and continuing life has been challenging but we are making our way.
One thing I have found is I love being home with my kids. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to work from home most of the time and that has let me spend more quality time with the girls. I notice so many more of their quirks in everyday life. How they respond to me, to each other and to our animals has been fun to take in.
Now don’t get me wrong, we have had our moments. Like siblings do, they fight. Not a lot and not for extended periods of time but I have heard more than one door slam out of anger and a few “leave me alones” from each kiddo.
I also have never done so many dishes in my life. It felt like I was constantly cooking, preparing snacks and then finding a full sink just a day after wiping it clean from the last round. That part of home life I will not miss, hooray for school lunch!
So this year when then walked through the door for school, it was different. I came home to a much quieter house with just me and my furry friends. I instinctively started to think about lunch at about noon even though it would just be for me. And I miss the giggles and little voices coming from throughout the house.
There have been many struggles from the pandemic, no one has been immune. But one gigantic benefit was the uninterrupted time I had with my girls and my family. That has been priceless and something I will never forget.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at firstname.lastname@example.org