Summer 2020 was very different for my daughter and me: no amusements parks, trip to the beach only once and limited outings to the park. So today was extra special when we, along my sister and niece, went to Six Flags Great Adventure. It was such a lovely day with a cool breeze and the sun shining.
We got on some rides, had yummy funnel cake, had some Halloween fun with a mirror maze, corn maze and trick or treating and enjoyed each other’s company. Though the experience was different with Covid restrictions, we had a a “great adventure!”
I love exercising. It’s my way of not only staying fit but relieving stress and turning off the negatives of the world for just an hour or two. On occasion, my seven year joins me. Little did I know how closely she’s been watching me and how much of an impact my exercising has made on her.
Quinn loves doing Youtube videos and decided to do an exercise video for her latest post. She came up with all of the exercises she wanted to include on her own, and I was pleasantly surprised when she said, “Mommy, I want to include boxing as one of my exercises just like you!” As she recorded her video, she said that I was her inspiration.
As I watched her hit the bag and do her other exercises, I thought to myself, “Wow, Quinn is my mini me when it comes to exercise!” She actually inspires me to keep going in knowing that I am her inspiration.
Who knows, maybe we will do a mother and daughter exercise video one day and inspire other mothers and daughters.
Ever been scrolling through your phone and come across random pictures you don’t recall taking but quickly realize that your child had a little fun taking selfies? As tempting as it may be for some parents to delete them and possibly admonish their child for taking crazy pictures, silly selfies or even using snap chat and different filters, I find myself smiling and chuckling at the pictures my seven year old takes.
When I was her age and well into adulthood, I struggled with self-esteem and lacked confidence. Though I enjoyed taking pictures of other people with my Fisher Price camera, long before the days of phones with cameras and cell phones in general, I was often nervous about taking pictures and had an awkward, forced smile. Sometimes, I wonder if I had an opportunity to take wacky, silly selfies if I would have been more comfortable and confident as a child and young adult.
Quinn uses my old cell phone through wifi, so any pictures she takes automatically are added to the cloud for me to see, and I just love seeing her smiling face, pursed lips or tongue hanging out in a crazy way displaying her not only her confidence but innocence too. Of course, there’s a thin line between being confident in one’s self and being self absorbed, so I try my best to model the right behavior. Also, selfies do have the potential to become an issue if filters become the norm, so we often talk about taking pictures and using filters for fun and how I love seeing pictures where it’s just her being natural with no filters at all.
I’m so glad my daughter has selfie confidence, and with virtual learning and her being at home even more, I’m sure she won’t disappoint by having more random pictures appear through the cloud in the weeks and months to come.
Since my daughter started kindergarten, I would put a little note in her lunchbox. Sometimes, it has a wacky fact, and other times it had a joke or just a few words of encouragement. A few days ago, My seven year old, with a big smile on her face, told me, “Close your eyes, Mommy! I have something special for you!”
She then put I box of candy with one of the notes I gave her before virtual schooling started last year. All I could do was smile and then give her a big hug and kiss. I thought it was the sweetest gesture. “I miss getting notes from you with my lunch, Mommy,” Quinn told me. Can you still write me notes sometimes even though I’m learning at home?” I responded with another hug, “Of course, sweetie.”
It didn’t even occur to me to still write notes. If anything, she’s needs them more than ever now. When is the last time you wrote a note to give your child during lunch? We mustn’t let this “new norm” stop us from doing things that put smiles on our children’s faces and ours as well.
Since my daughter was a toddler, she would ask if we could meet her dad at the train station so that we could all walk home together when he arrived from work. Since a March, my husband’s been working from home and only reported to the office a handful of times. So when he went into work a few days ago, my seven year old said, “I have an idea! Why do we meet Daddy at the train station? It’ll be Zack’s first time too!” Zack is our toy poodle puppy.
Though we take neighborhood walks often, walking to the train station to meet my husband reminded me of we must appreciate the little things. We’ve had so many fun moments and great conversations on our walks. As we waited for my husband’s train to arrive, I thought about how simply walking to the train station and waiting on a loved one to arrive is a luxury and a moment worth embracing.
When his train arrived, Quinn started cheering, and Zack’s tail started wagging in overdrive. I couldn’t help but smile myself as I imagined this simple task eventually being the norm again.
Virtual learning is less stressful and far more relaxing, right? Wrong! Well, maybe for some, but for me…the jury is still out. The first week back teaching virtual courses and interacting with students synchronously and asynchronously, helping my second grader through the process and addressing a technical issue or two while tending to our 15 week old puppy and taking him to his first puppy grooming midweek and then class today left me wonder how I’m going to manage to balance it all in the coming weeks.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can only imagine how parents with multiple children who may not be able to work from home are holding up. So with this in mind, I may be feeling a tad exhausted at times, but I’m grateful.
Who knows when, but one day I’ll find myself reminiscing about the moments of us all being home, bonding and working through it all together. There’s so much to learn right now, and I’m trying my best to keep that in mind when I start feeling overwhelmed.
Just like that, summer break is winding down, and the new school year’s about to start in the coming weeks. With this summer quite different from the past ones due to COVID 19 restrictions, I tried my best to be creative and even asked my seven year old to come up with a list of activities she hoped to do. We successfully tackled most of the activities on the list and even added a couple along the way.
Though we did cancel her postponed birthday party, we still had a great time at a restaurant with outdoor seating with my sister and niece. With a smile on Quinn’s face, she said, “I had a great summer, Mommy!” There’s so many memes circulating about how 2020 is the worst year ever, so it definitely puts a smile on my face knowing that despite all of the negative circumstances my daughter still has a positive outlook and enjoys the little things, just like her mom 😊.
So, I’m going into my second week of being a puppy mom, and I definitely have my hands full. Prepping meals for Quinn and Zack, tending to both of their needs and carving out a little time for myself has been tricky this week. Thank goodness for my seven year old who’s been helping me along the way. Just like a new born baby, Zack, woke up a couple of times throughout the course of the night to “go potty” leaving this puppy mom with four or five hours sleep.
Luckily, for the past few days he’s been sleeping through the night, possibly because he’s starting to feel more comfortable, we’ve been playing with him even more and running him up and down the block with him for a little while after he’s “gone potty,” which he seems to really enjoy.
Though he’s not a human, I love seeing how happy Quinn is with her puppy brother. I have a feeling that they are going to learn so much from each other, and I’ll continue learning so much from the both of them as well.
As we biked down the road, Quinn said, “It’s so nice today. I love doing outdoor activities with you, Mommy!” It’s been nearly three months since the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our way of life, and even though the transition to online learning for her and finding different ways to have fun while practicing social distancing has been going smoothly, hearing the happiness in her voice and giggle as we sped down the hill let me know how much she misses regular outdoor activities and outings.
Though it was hot yesterday, neither one of us cared because we were both just happy to be outside doing something more than a walk around the neighborhood. The light breeze, the beads of sweat forming as we pedaled in over time to get up those hills with the trailer bike, and whizzing down a hill or two were all greatly appreciated and sought after.
When we got home, Quinn eagerly asked if we can go for a bike ride again tomorrow and then said, “Even if we can’t do a lot of outdoor activities like last year, we can still have a fun summer.” This statement made me think about how resilient my seven year old has been throughout this entire ordeal. She’s went with the flow, is full of energy, which helps to keep me going when I’m feeling depleted, and she demonstrates hope for when “things get back to normal,” as she often says.
We all may find ourselves “spinning our wheels” longing for normalcy, but for now, I’m trying my best to mirror the hope, persistence and gratitude my daughter often displays.
With some Kidz Bop music playing in the background, my seven year old and I sat at the table quietly sorting through all of the puzzle pieces, 500 pieces to be exact! Since I can remember, I’ve always liked doing puzzles, and Quinn is the same way.
Though we both enjoy doing puzzles, we have different techniques for getting started. I tend to focus on the edges and piecing together the frame of the puzzle, and she prefers to sort through the colors looking for similarities. Though my strategy yielded quicker results, leaving Quinn a little frustrated with her progress, I reassured her that once the frame was done, I too would be following her technique.
While we’re just getting started, this activity is perfect to constructively pass time as we continue to practice social distancing. It also made me think about how there’s so many things to piece together during these puzzling times. Just like working on this 500 piece puzzle, it can initially be overwhelming, but we must be patient and work together diligently. Over time, everything will start to come together and be clearly presented. Then, we’ll be able to admire our hard work and Pat each other on the back for working together as a team.