Nothing fun is open and other lessons from the summer of COVID
Our kids are back at school now. At least for the time being. Who knows for how long. Let's call this time a re-group. I need a minute. Seriously.
This moment of pause is definitely including some extra sleep and some reflection - because, holy shit, that was a ride and a half.
The past six months need to be processed. Like, WTF just happened?
My oldest kid summed it up best when I was talking about the restrictions to my brother...
Me - "Some stuff is still open."
Kid - "Nothing FUN is open."
So here's the moment of reflection, just before I STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS... here's where I'm at with the....SUMMER OF COVID.
Access to nature should be a human-right.
It's the only thing that kept people sane in these unnavigable times. I've always felt pretty lucky to live where we do. Now I know for sure we're lucky. The craziness was definitely improved by wild children who climb trees, run in the rain, hike the trails, swim in the lake, and just work hard to carve out a place for themselves on the planet. Everyone deserves access to nature and natural spaces, and those spaces deserve protection.
I'm hopeful that as communities and our economy is rebuilt and reimagined that we remember where our priorities were and what we missed during the peaks of COVID.
Everyday adventures are the best adventures.
I have really been missing my dad recently. For a few reasons, but one being that, while the pandemic would have been really annoying for him, the guy knew how to explore the everyday, and how to find joy in small moments and among good people. But, he's not here. And so I picked up the torch for him for my kids.
Everyday adventures mean a bike ride on a new street. Saying hi to the dogs and cats you meet. Walking to the convenience store for an (overpriced) ice-cream. Baking cookies. Collecting flowers and plants for potions. Staying up late for a night-time swim and to see the stars. Noticing new plants and bugs in your yard.
The great thing is that those adventures are everywhere. You just have to look for them.
More kids should know how to just hang out.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s. Our parents didn't care about us being occupied, our sensory stimulation, or our self-esteem. I'm not saying my parents didn't drive me a friends place, or sign me up for the odd tennis class, but my days were filled because I filled them.
When you're nine and you've got a bike and three bucks, you have to get creative. Your days get filled because you're bored. Filled with neighbourhood exploration, wandering the mall, talking for hours, debating your favourite episodes of your favourite show, minor acts of vandalism and HILARIOUS crank calls. Otherwise known as, hanging out.
I did not fill my kids days with stuff during the summer of COVID. Nor did I try too. About half our days involved me saying at least once: "I have to finish something. You can go outside, on the porch or into the playroom." And that's it.
Technology has taken boredom from us, and from our kids, and it's not good for our brains. Wandering, bored brains seek to be fulfilled and there's wonder and joy in a brain that is driven to find fulfillment.
The gender disparities for childcare and household tasks are utterly FUCKED.
Our household is progressive in all the ways you'd expect a Fox News viewer to freak-out about. We don't think COVID is a conspiracy. We accept the science of climate change. We know about, and explain to our kids about white, middle class privilege. Love is love. Gender is a spectrum. We believe that protest is a catalyst for change. We see the patriarchy in all its bullshit.
And yet, my work and businesses took a back seat to our kids and house stuff. Honestly, I don't know how else we could have done it. My work is "flexible" and my husband can't work at home. He took extra days off. I worked at night. But it was not equal. And we'll find a better solution in the second wave.
Both Vireo and Hoodie Chew Chew are fine. But it still hurts my head to think about all the nights working, projects left un-done and unfulfilled. And I'm not taking the hit again.
Peace out, friends! Summer of COVID is over and I'm done talking about it!
We Got Chew!