And just like that, summer is over.
This summer, unlike our past ones together, was very low-key. No big cruise vacation to the Caribbean in June and no weekend trips to different destinations other than the one time we stayed at my in-laws for 4 nights down in the Virginia Beach area. It also rained almost the entire time we were there so there wasn’t even a beach visit, but thankfully the kids got plenty of pool time in their backyard.
Our two biggest news of the summer was Jon getting hired at a local print & design shop at the end of July. His commute is 20 minutes each way and it’s basically the dream commute (apart from working from home) considering his commutes to Arlington from our house previously were unbearable.
The other piece of big news was deciding to go the homeschooling route. We did a homeschooling novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola in late July to offer up this decision to the Lord, and during and afterwards we just felt a tide of peace in the decision to homeschool. I received the green light from my studio directors on shifting my work hours to 2pm-10pm so I’m able to focus my time with the kids for all of our activities and lessons; this works better given that Jon’s work schedule isn’t flexible, so with this shift I only have 3.5 hrs or so of wrangling the kids as I work until Jon gets home to relieve me.
Despite the indefinite long days and nights ahead for both my husband and I, the reminders to take everything a day at a time, establishing/sticking to strict routines, setting up personal time (with hobbies & prayer), and getting ample rest—I pray these will keep our heads above water. I also don’t take for granted the support from work and my team, and the resources the company has been providing to help parents navigating these uncharted waters.
In spite of not being able to go to many places, we’ve recommitted to creating more intentional spaces within our home to maximize rest, productivity, and play—for us both and the kids. Jon relocated his PC/gamer stuff to another side of the basement rec room, while the opposite end has become our homeschooling space, adjacent to the sliding door so we can get sufficient natural daylight. My office upstairs is also a work in progress. Since I will be working from home for the foreseeable future, we agreed that it makes sense to invest more deliberate thought and money behind the design and space planning of it. After years, I finally purchased a file cabinet and purged through paperwork and sorted all of our important files. It felt good. The concealed paperwork makes a world of a difference—who would’ve thunk…
On the social front, we’ve been fortunate to meet up with our regular group of friends and their kids. A handful of times we’ve done backyard bonfires + dinners together; it’s been really therapeutic to maintain this time together considering how lonely we get, despite being a family of four cooped up in a house. We’ve also had some outdoor time with my side of the family at my parents’ backyard. While each visit has been so wonderful, it makes me long more and more for the day when we can embrace them tightly and have the kids stay there.
Since the end of May, we’ve also been able to attend Holy Mass as family each Sunday. This by far has been the greatest consolation during these troubling, uncertain times. Our parish has been doing a great job in following safety protocols while more importantly maintaining reverence of the sacred liturgy, for which I am very grateful. We have finally broken our bad habit of getting to Mass late before Covid hit. Sometimes it was inevitable (because kids and their last minute needs), but other times it was admittedly due to poor time management on our end. Needless to say, Mass being closed to the public for months deeply changes you. Plus if you don’t get there early enough, they might have to turn you away due to meeting capacity requirements.
To wrap up our summer and gear us up for all that’s to come, my husband and I got to attend a convocation at our parish on spiritual warfare. Doing this together for a day and a half, without the kids, really helped recenter us a married couple in really understanding once again our vocation as spouses and parents.
One poignant thing I wanted to share was when we arrived back home after the convocation ended. His recently retired parents babysat the kids, and when we returned home, our former mountain of dirty clothes were all laundered & folded and all the clutter in our garage was organized. There was also multiple cooked dishes or prepped ones in the fridge, giving us a little break from cooking. Naturally I was slightly embarrassed at these acts of service, but as I was thanking them, my mother-in-law brought up a story around the time when Jon was just baptized as a baby; she was sick and could barely move from her bed. When her sickness subsided, she learned that in addition to the help she got with them tending to baby Jon, her father-in-law did all their mountain of laundry, a memory she never forgot. This also reminds me of the times since March when my parents stopped by with home-cooked meals.
Experiencing again and again these acts of service are tremendous blessings and good moments to exercise humility as they are certainly extensions of God’s great generosity.
On a final note, tonight we did an End of the Summer Family Awards Ceremony at home. Even in just the past three months they’ve grown so much more in size, and even more so, personality. Faith + Family Collective sent us this awesome kit a few weeks ago, and so I’ve been looking forward to doing this with them. There was very little effort on my part, which you know, is a huge help to have such great tools all ready to go! The kids enjoyed the little ceremony we did recalling all the new memories made this summer (including Lucy now potty trained!!!), and also for them to be recognized on their wonderful qualities and virtues.
Tomorrow we officially begin our homeschooling adventure! We’ve been slowly rolling into the routine these past few weeks so I’m excited to actually dive in now, and the kids are so ready. At this point with all that we juggle it’s all really just a complete surrender of our lessons and plans to the Holy Spirit. And taking it all one day at a time, of course. Prayers are certainly welcome; let us know, too, if you have any prayer intentions!