We made it!
My four sons completed an entire school year as virtual learners and I made it through an entire year of teaching preschool in-person. I absolutely never want to experience teaching and learning during a pandemic – or any other crisis – ever again but I think we made it as successful as possible. The boys also had some opportunities that may not have been available to them in a regular year – such as participating in online film festivals and attending conferences. I think we can all agree, however, that this year was incredibly exhausting and that we were glad to get to the end of the school year.
We had another birthday to celebrate since I last wrote a personal blog post. Our youngest son turned 12 at the end of May. We were lucky to have some lovely weather which enabled us to celebrate with an outdoor activity. I would call this crazy golf but it is apparently known as mini golf around here. Thanks to some childhood experiences, I find crazy golf makes me feel stressed and anxious so I chose to spectate rather than actively participate. The course was fun, well-designed, and had an appropriate level of challenge for kids spanning the ages of my brood. The 15 and 12 year olds even managed to achieve a hole-in-one each. Everyone indulged in delicious milkshakes at the end of the course.
Over a year of being largely stuck at home meant our tired and shabby family living room was really starting to annoy us so our Spring project was refreshing that room. You can see what the previous makeover of this room like in a previous blog post. We did not undertake any major DIY but we replaced the carpet – as we still had the carpet installed by the previous owners, one that was really getting worn and grotty – and bought new sofas. The whole room now feels much lighter while still being cozy. I have more DIY and home organization projects to undertake over the summer break – things I could not get around to while everyone was learning and working from home – but my first big jobs are turning all of our rooms back to domestic spaces. The makeshift classrooms descended into chaotic rats’ nests towards the end of the school year and I am more than ready to transition them back and reclaim them.
I am trying to get back into the habit of making regular time for art. It was absolutely impossible in the last couple of months, however, as my schedule was ridiculously difficult to navigate. I would have needed to clone myself to make it work smoothly. I, therefore, continued with my Post-It note habit, still taking inspiration from the movies my kids have been loving. These two examples both happen to be from Japanese movies, ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Hara-Kiri’.
Two of our kids are moving on to new places in their education. Our 14 year old is now done with Middle School and will be heading off to High School in September. He has been learning to cook over the past few months and especially enjoys getting up on weekend mornings to make chocolate chip pancakes for him and his brothers. He is also really into digital art now.
The big milestone is that our oldest son graduated from High School. This was a whole new experience for us as people as well as parents. My husband attended an international school so he did not have the American version of graduating. There were no festivities for me when I left school. My “milestone” was simply leaving my last school exam. I snapped my pencil in half and walked home. No celebration of any kind. The whole graduation thing was actually pretty overwhelming. Despite opting out of lots of “side missions”, there was an awful lot to keep on top of and process. Every time I thought I had a handle on what was required, I would realize there was another piece of critical information I was missing or something I did not understand. There was so much assumed knowledge in communications about graduation with no accommodations for we ignorant immigrant parents. Keeping on top of all the moving parts was actually quite a slog. Even the evening itself did not pass off without a few glitches but we (just) made it in time and had a lovely time marking the conclusion to our son’s school career.
Congrats to the grad and to all of you for not going completely bonkers during this last year. Better times a head.
I certainly hope so, Beverly. I hope you are well.
Thanks for thinking of me. Yes I am well and enjoying the cool pops that pop in after the rain storms. Summer in the south is HOT!
Indeed. I do not know how you all manage.
And I would have trouble managing the long cold.
Ha! That is very true.
Congratulations on making it through!!! Way to go all of you!!!!! Big congratulations!!! And yes, the graduation ceremonies are overwhelming with so much assumed knowledge that’s not expressed. The last high school graduation ceremony in our family that we attended in person was in 2018. Part of the assumed knowledge in that ceremony was the location of things…which visiting Aunties aka me and my wife weren’t aware of…we had to request guidance more than once! But we made it on time – barely!
Happy birthday belated to your 12 year old!! And congratulations to the budding cook in your family!! Feeding more than just yourself is an accomplishment in my opinion!!
I’ll have to go looking for more of your post it note drawings. They are charming!!!
Your family room is delightful!!! Congratulations on creating a space that works so well!!! That’s an achievement!!! 👍👍
Thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough reply. I appreciate it. The graduation thing was crazy. My university graduation was not as complex or grandiose as this event. We didn’t even have to deal with prom (our son opted not to attend, ostensibly for pandemic reasons but really for introvert reasons) and a number of the usual senior events were cancelled this year. I do not know how I would have managed to keep on top of it all had all of those things required my attention too. I didn’t even understand elements of the dress code and had to have other parents explain it to me.
I am pleased to have one kid who seems to enjoy cooking and wants to learn how to cook. We started out with simple things but I am hoping to get him cooking alongside me over the summer when there is more time for prepping and cooking meals.
I hear you. My own university graduation too seems a relaxed affair compared to high school graduation these days. Even as supportive Aunties we felt we needed a diagram and a “for dummies” book on the what, when, where’s regarding the high school graduation day we attended. We gave up trying to do it properly after a bit and decided we’d just be the family eccentrics. So we had a grand time congratulating everyone and dispensing hugs or peppermint candies as the case warrented. To my knowledge no one was seriously injured due to embarrassment. 😁 Due to prior experience we were fairly certain that the graduate would accept cash as a gift. 😉
I’m glad too that you didn’t have to deal with a prom. Heckamighty talk about a big todo and bother! Your son was very kind to you – pandemic or introvert reasons aside!
When I was around 18 I got a cookbook called “Students Vegetarian Cookbook” and that book had a section of “kitchen theory” that demystified much of cooking and helped me feel more brave in the kitchen. Learning cooking as a young person is such an adventure! So is learning to cook as an older person come to think of it! Here’s hoping your kid will continue to find it enjoyable too!
I am an instinctive cook who relies on experience and only uses recipes as suggestions and inspiration. I am, therefore, going to start him off by teaching him to cook some family favourites and some essential skills but then he will need to move on to following recipes so that he doesn’t just learn at my elbow and pick up my bad habits. My knife skills aren’t top notch either. I have never mastered fine dice.
Well done to you all for making it through a difficult year, and congrats to the two movers and shakers. May the next year be easier for us all!
I sincerely hope so, Anabel! My youngest son just received his second vaccine today so it is a relief to know the whole family is now fully vaccinated since things are now opening up quickly here and mitigation efforts being abandoned.
Well done by all of you to get through these major challenges ! Now on to new ones !
Indeed. Isn’t it going to be a luxury to be able to choose some of our own personal challenges rather than having so many imposed upon us?