Being There

What we have been missing the most over these last several strange months has been…

CAKE!!!!

Oh wait. No, we’ve been doing plenty of baking. Check out that sweet layer cake I made! Sometimes I impress myself.

What we’ve really been missing is that feeling of really getting to be with people–just enjoying human company. After my parents dealt with COVID in their own home, we actually got the wonderful treat of getting to enjoy a visit from them with no fear, since they were past their contagion quarantine while full of those protective antibodies.

How wonderful to play games with Grandma right up close!

Henry and Grandpa Steve both find themselves in funny positions sometimes

A nice lakeside chat with Grandma at Lake Nokomis

and a walking one with Grandpa. Figuring out Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Henry would have let Grandma spin him all day!

Joe tends to ignore posted rules

Such a wonderful time, especially since I had recently started teaching from home and could use some fresh ears to dump my thoughts and feelings into!

The next week, we all got our flu vaccinations. They’ve started doing a clinic at their middle school, so now that it’s not attached to the doctor’s office (and they usually have the flu mist instead of the shot) it tends to go much smoother. Here they are enjoying a post-mist play on our walk back home afterward.

School starting has also helped reconnect the boys with their peers. For so long we didn’t do any play dates, but now that we know more about how COVID is transmitted, it’s less scary to do backyard hangs. The kids are honestly better at social-distancing/masking-up than most adults I see! It’s been so good for everyone’s mental health to get these times of connection in.

I’m now teaching in-person four days a week, while maintaining a full distance-learning classroom everyday. Some of the introductory information a new teacher might get at a school has gotten left behind with the concerns of the pandemic, so the second week left me feeling like I had too much software and systems to figure out to ever make it work! I got sad and angry and indignant and overwhelmed and…yeah.

Luckily, I live with a wise man who told me:

Just kidding. Joe’s the most supportive partner ever. He lets me do all the venting and crying I need, but he’ll also point out when it would help to adjust my perspective AND he encourages me to reach out for help, advice and to be seen/heard.

I needed all of those things, and with the combination of all of them, my third week of teaching (which was also my first week of in-person teaching ever!) has been a success! I’m feeling better, getting the help I need, and every day learning more about how to do this job better.

For my 3D Art class, I had each period take a walk around the school to collect art materials. One class made a ‘nest’ and then plunked a huge rock on top of it, declaring it “The Bird!” This one is my favorite. It’s hard to see, but it was Day One in class, and the looks of the art is not really the point. Their inspiration was ‘how it feels to be back in school.’ Many of them were most struck by how strange the building feels with only a third of the students there at a time. They’re also 8th graders, so they’ve had a lot of prior experience in this building. They decided the best way to represent their collective feeling was to create a house on an island with a bridge. The house should feel nostalgic, empty and old. That’s so real!

So yeah, we’re all working our way through. In the meantime, bigger growth just happens while you’re busy with all the little moments. Like our zinnias

and our tree

and HOLY COW our sunflowers! I have tried to grow sunflowers every year for 6 years, but it never happens. I must have done something right this year.

They’re way bigger than me!

“Sooooooo big!”

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