School starts this week (finally!). I’m glad for something new to do, but it’s not like too much has changed since our district is all virtual. And yet, me being me, I’m already thinking wistfully about the time we’ve had.
We all agree 2020 has been generally awful. Hard. Anxious. Boring. All the negative adjectives. But it’s also given my husband the chance to take a walk with the girls every day. It’s given us permission to not go, go, go on the weekends from event to event and instead hang out in the backyard or do something crazy exciting like ride bikes to the playground six blocks over. (Yes, my girls went bonkers when I first suggested this. Who needs Disneyland when you’ve got the cool slide a half mile away. Man, to be that young and carefree.)
It’s let me read all the books and pretty much quit drinking sodas and hot chocolates since I mostly got those when working from a coffee shop. It’s allowed work from the backyard and to witness the pure joy that is the face of a 4-year-old when she finds you in a game of hide-and-seek. It’s led us to discover secret paths by the Urban Ecology Center in an effort to stay away from people while becoming even closer as a family unit.
I can’t decide if I’m more proud or embarrassed for how much my four- and six-year-old have taken care of themselves for the last six months. My husband has worked from home 100% for the duration and I am only in the kitchen two days a week, but still… When we are home and it’s between 8 am and 4 pm, we are at least trying to get work done. This means the girls have figured out how to entertain themselves, put on their own sunblock, pick out snacks, and put themselves down for a nap. (Yep, they still rest for two hours every day. #luckiestmomever) For what they missed in math lessons, they totally made up for in life lessons.
Will they remember this time? If so, will they remember the movie nights or the fights over toys? The epic blanket forts or the screaming (oh, the screaming)? The mom who took them on adventures on Fridays (if by adventure, you mean a drive to the grocery pick-up) or the one who said “just one second” roughly 4,000 times while trying to get work done on her phone?
I hope I remember watching the seeds of a friendship of a lifetime being planted. The giggles while we “party in the bathroom!!” while brushing teeth or shampooing pink hair. The endless rounds of playing family with “Elsia and Annia” (AKA, the names for the Frozen characters in some unlicensed YouTube show they’ve found.)
Yes, the screen time has gone up, but so have the opportunities to read them a book or to play a quick round of “the floor is lava.” The anxiety is at an all-time high, but so is my pride and love for my family unit. I’ve taught the dog several new tricks. I’ve viewed the full moon at 3 am from a backyard tent. I’ve become BFFs with a sourdough starter named Veronica Jars. I’m a walking embodiment of the 2020 memes (the funny ones, not the Karen ones.) I’ve unlocked all the 2020 achievements.
Fingers crossed this is the only pandemic of my lifetime. I really don’t want to do this again.
But I will definitely, absolutely, 100% miss this time.