When we were on vacation in Clark Lake my sister taught me how to take beautiful long-exposure sparkler photos. Somehow I’d never quite figured it out despite the hundreds of sparklers we’ve waved through the night air. On that trip we also learned our school district’s official options for students and began to weigh the pros and cons of each. No matter which option we chose we would have a minimum of nine weeks of fully virtual school in our future, possibly more. Before the week was out I had a spark of inspiration for another long-exposure photo I wanted to take: I imagined myself sitting at the table in the mudroom where I work, this time with laptops and school supplies strewn about, with the kids moving about me as they might on any given day, blurs of motion and activity while I try (often in vain) to focus.Continue reading
Last weekend I went out to dinner with friends and we spent all of Sunday afternoon and evening at the home of more friends. Sometime between then and last Wednesday or Thursday everything changed. The governor announced late Thursday night that Michigan schools would be closed for three weeks (four, if you count spring break) starting the following Monday, and Kristin and I began to realize that the wave of “social distancing” (which I was texting friends to try to comprehend just a day or two earlier) was upon us.
So on Saturday we went into hibernation. We woke up debating whether it was OK to take Jonah to karate before learning that it was closed (we’d already decided that gymnastics for the twins was off the table – too crowded). We began exchanging activity and home school ideas with friends via text and did our best to dive into this new reality. The good news is that we’re mostly introverts in this family, so keeping to ourselves on the weekends rarely bothers us. So here’s lockdown weekend #1, a photo essay: Continue reading
Today is my birthday, and Jonah actually turned seven back in November, but at least once a year I like to take time to record who each child is in this moment. This seems as good a time as any to capture some thoughts on the boy who made me a mama.
I worked from home today, which technically I suppose I do every weekday, but what I mean is that I worked from my actual house instead of my parents’ house – the place I usually refer to as my summer office. I stayed home because Kristin was speaking on an education panel up in Lansing this morning. Maybe it was because I was getting a glimpse of the kids’ lazy summer days that I normally miss, or maybe it was because it’s August and my fear of not squeezing in enough special moments before school starts is creeping in, or maybe it’s because I have to leave for New York this Sunday, but I felt a huge sense of longing and sentimentality all day. I just wanted to sweep them onto my lap and give them one more hug and wander outside to watch them lolling on the tree swing. Today I wished that I could be a stay at home mom, at least for a little while. It feels so unfair some days to miss so much of what really matters. Continue reading
I woke up with a summer cold last Friday and knew that it had the potential to sabotage the weekend. We didn’t have much in the way of plans, which I suppose was good, but I crave that family time and the opportunity to make magic together. It was the solstice, and we’d talked about heading out to Virtue Cider in Fenville and then catching the sunset over Lake Michigan with some family friends. Fortunately my germs didn’t sway their dedication to the plan, and I figured it might be my best chance to make something of the weekend in case I felt worse in the coming days.
The kids ran wild together, discovering trails (full of poison ivy!) we didn’t know were there, chasing chickens, flipping over in hammocks and just enjoying the expansive surroundings.
We adore these friends, and enjoyed the snippets of conversation that we were able to squeeze in as much as the kids enjoyed their wild freedom Continue reading
I’ve never been a runner. I played a lot of sports growing up, mostly with an overwhelming lack of enthusiasm, and the one through-line is that I hated running of all kinds. I can remember the side aches, meandering my way through the one mile “run” in middle school gym class, dreading running as a punishment during every sports practice. Once I was in college I eventually decided to try to get in good enough shape to run a 5K, and I did, and that was enough for me. I’m someone who goes to the gym and does cardio but long stretches of running have never factored in heavily. Continue reading
As I typed the title to this post I paused for a moment and wondered when (assuming it’s inevitable) Jude and Vivienne will object to being referred to as a collective noun. They have such an incredible bond; both would quickly name the other as best friend. I hope that they’re always that way. Continue reading
Valentine’s Day has never made my list of favorite holidays, but since having kids it feels like an excellent excuse for thematic crafting. For the past couple of years I’ve picked up some pre-cut hearts and loads of stickers and sequins and markers and let the kids go to town and drop whatever chaos they ended up creating into their classmates’ paper-bag mailboxes. This year the holiday coincided with an irrepressible urge to take on a creative project, so I decided to co-opt their valentines entirely. Continue reading
This morning when I dropped Jonah off, he told me that he doesn’t like school. It was the first time this year that I can recall him having said so, and it made me sad. He’s had a surprisingly positive experience in kindergarten so far (and I say “surprisingly” only because I had my doubts about the worksheet- and testing-centric culture of today’s public schools). I asked him what he didn’t like and he told me that it’s too hard (which is also surprising, since he’s whizzing through everything they’re teaching). I assured him that he’s doing great in school and that he can do hard things, which is when he took a turn for the existential and told me that most of the time he can’t find anything fun to do. I inquired as to whether we were still talking about school, but no, now he was talking about life in general. Continue reading
Jonah was born the Saturday after Thanksgiving, exactly a week past his due date. So this year, the year that he turns six, was the first year since that his birthday has fallen on a Saturday. For some reason that felt meaningful to me this year, though I can’t say why exactly. Every year I feel completely unprepared for our children to suddenly become a year older than they were. I know; it isn’t sudden, it’s a one-day-at-a-time sort of thing. But it always feels abrupt. Continue reading