I think after the months of staying at home, we are beginning to see just how much our family has to be thankful for. My kids are aware of the virus and the changes that are going on but for the most part we have been able to just hang out at home and have fun. Fraser has been working during the whole pandemic, our yard is a sanctuary for us and our home is well stocked with all the things we could need (food and entertainment).
As life moves on and we try to find a “new normal” I am not too quick to rush back to some of the old ways. I have told my kids stores do not allow children right now (maybe a stretch but somewhat true) plus we are in a position where we have many options to shop without bringing our kids out. We have also not returned to any of their activities with the exception of Rowens therapies. I do think the kids miss them to some extent, but I also know this is temporary and at some point they will return to organized activities. Our goal was to enjoy the summer and make a choice for organized programs in September. For now I am enjoying the slower relaxed pace that comes with so few commitments. I love the no stress each day brings and the lack of driving and time spent in the car going from activity to activity.
I am learning that we are all missing traveling (specifically time in Hawaii) but we can still explore and enjoy Beautiful BC. I am also learning that we have so many beautiful places available to us right in our own “backyard” so to speak. One place we have been finding happiness is on the water. My kids love to be outside, exploring the beaches, finding treasures, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and of course being out on our new to us boat. This privilege is not lost on me and we are so grateful for all the water experiences we have available to us. Something we have become extremely aware of is how fortunate we are to have so much family that has helped us to be able to give our kids these amazing and safe experiences. It is not lost on me that our flexible work schedules and access to some pretty amazing spots is not the “norm”.
We have been taking nice breaks when we know we could all use them, whether that is a sunset swim, late afternoon boat ride or mid week road trip. I used to want my kids to have the very best and everything they want but over the last little bit I realize I want them to experience seeing us work for stuff that is important to us and that we love, but also be willing to give up work to just be together and have fun. I have always believed time holds pretty big value and the older I get the more I remember the people we spent the most time with, and all those memories we were creating without even knowing it. If we can teach them a balance between working for stuff and taking time for fun then I think we will have done our job as parents. Growing up I was surrounded by family, aunts, uncles and cousins were always around and one really cool thing was the time we got to spend together. Some of our aunts were full time moms, lots of our uncles were self employed or had seasonal work so aside from my own Mom lots of our family had flexible schedules. Over the pandemic it has opened our eyes how much we love Frasers schedule and the ability to be at home with each other and have that time.
My sister recently reminded me about our weekday morning breakfasts with my aunt and uncle, my aunt would always start her morning with a pop while my uncle would be smoking away. Do I think starting your morning with pop or cigarettes is the best? Probably not, but I would give anything to get to have one more morning with them for breakfast. Unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. Time is precious and goes way too fast. Although I cannot slow it down, I can learn to appreciate how fortunate this time with our kids is and our unique ability to have so much available time to spend with them is. I think they taught me how the value of time and to choose wisely how you spend it.
Having our kids at home instead of at school or programs with teachers and coaches has been extremely challenging. My dreams of being able to homeschool my kids have had a hard dose of reality hit them. I realize that for Rowen the “homeschool” we had set up is not his ideal learning environment and that he really missed the interaction of his peers and his teachers. We have expanded our bubble and the kids have friends they now see and play with but it got me thinking to how we could be more inspiring to our kids? They are home with us for a bit and it might not change for the foreseeable future. I’m trying to change my mindset and trying to look at this time as a gift.
At first I was cranky and frustrated with the staying home, long hours with the same five people and lack of support and help we normally have. However when I started to see how fortunate we were and began to prioritize what mattered most to our family I began to see that we could still “teach” our kids and inspire without following the online lesson plans. I hope that Fraser and I inspire our kids to follow their passions and find things that excite them. When you are passionate about something it is usually contagious to others. My Aunt and Uncle had huge impacts on our lives and it wasn’t to start the day with pop or to smoke a pack or two a day. I want my kids to laugh at the strange habits we might have had but also to remember the time we spend as a family as valuable.
The one thing I admire about parenting with Fraser is that we both encourage and inspire each other to sometimes live outside of the box. We don’t always make the smart or popular decision but this has been something that has paid off for us more times then not. It has meant sometimes we have cut people out of lives that are toxic, it has meant working long hours so we can take extended time off, choosing to have messy floors, dirty dishes and laundry and get to go out on fun adventure or taking days off when it would make more financial sense to go to work, getting a puppy when we were having a baby, renovating when we were having another baby and buying a boat during a pandemic. For us it has meant we aren’t waiting for “tomorrow” or some unknown future, when we know something we want we try to do it. We live for the now and we are enjoying these moments and days. They go so fast and we all know we don’t get them back.
I admire the way Fraser has always wanted to go back and take pottery classes. He finally decided this year to take the plunge and register for a Tuesday morning class in Vancouver. He was loving it and our kids were always asking about Dad’s pottery and what he was doing. Unfortunately he couldn’t take lessons during covid but in true Fraser style he set up a studio in his shop and made pieces from home, he had the kids out watching him and even making pieces of their own. If our kids can see a bearded tattooed biker like their dad working with his hands making beautiful pieces of pottery (and loving it) I hope they know that they can do or be anything they want. I love that these examples are not only good for each other; Fraser gets time doing something he enjoys, I get beautiful pieces of pottery but the kids also learn if you enjoy something you find a way to do it.
I am a SAHM (stay at home mom). It has been both a blessing and a curse, as well as something I am proud and ashamed of. Knowing that staying at home as a primary caregiver was causing me to resent Frasers time outside of the house as well as make me feel less than for not having an outside job I started to take a couple days a week out at the farm for “me time”. My part time job, is more than just a job for me. It allows me to leave my kids twice a week without (too much) guilt. It has given my kids a pride in seeing what and where I work, but also shows them that I am more than just their Mom. It has also forced me to expand my circle and communicate with other adults. Covid has taught me that I definitely have social anxiety and have enjoyed having an “excuse” not to see other people and to stick within a bubble I am comfortable with. However having the farm forces me out, in a place where I feel comfortable and happy! It is a win win win!
I think another way we can inspire and teach our kids is by showing gratitude for what we have, as well as giving to those who might not have as much. Again with Covid it has been an eye opener to some of the security we have that I have previously taken for granted. We have a big loving and supporting family as well as an incredible group of family and friends. We have job security (as much as any job can be secure), home and food. Not once did we worry about running out of food or not being able to buy or access what we needed. I was shocked and sad to find out how many families in our community were struggling with basic needs like food. We previously hadn’t done much in terms of real “charity” aside from dropping off food at food drives during Christmas but during Covid we became involved with an organization called Mama’s for Mama’s and regularly donate fresh yummy food (not extra cans from our cupboards). We also helped the kids to donate to Delta Hospital Foundation their lemonade stand money they had earned last year. I really want them to know that we never know when we might need some of these supports so if we are in a position to ever help or give we should even a small amount.
Covid has taught our family many lessons, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions and has tested our relationships and patience in ways I didn’t think possible. However it has also opened our eyes to have more empathy and see that we all have more in common, as a whole we share the same fears and concerns and for the most part as a country we care about each other and the greater good. I am proud of my family and the way we have grown over the past 4 months. I am anxious about the Fall but I am also looking forward to trying new things and seeing how we can take this new growth and live differently.