By this time every year, we pretty much have every weekend of the summer planned out. From vacation to graduation parties, Country Concert, lake trips, festivals and get togethers, we rarely have a scheduled weekend at home through the summer. In fact, we would have already been gone the last two to three weekends in years past.
But, as you know, this year is very different. And while I was heartbroken over many of our normal summer activities being canceled, I now almost feel some relief in the (in my mind) expected need to go, go, go all the time.
You see, I thought experiences and adventures outside of our house were what we needed. But what I lost track of was the joy in the simplicity of putting work into what is in front of us daily and just enjoying where we are.
For years, we have put off so many different home projects as we were always running all summer long. In the last month, we have planted not one but two gardens, finished our mulching and landscape, powerwashed the house, cleaned out most of the basement, started tackling the play room, and even installed (by ourselves — go us) some new-to-us laundry equipment.
Oh, AND we got a dumpster and filled that baby in less than a day. I cannot even begin to tell you how freeing and stress-relieving it is to get rid of so much stuff that has accumulated in seven years! We have a shed again, a garage again, a basement again! Being the one in the family with the youngest kiddos, we have been blessed and gifted so many hand-me-downs — from clothes, toys, books, bikes – and we appreciate it. But it just became too much.
Sure, we donated what we could, but I don’t think anyone would want some of my old college things, puzzles with missing pieces, bikes that may or may not have been run over when left behind mom’s car (that’s a whole other story) and “maybe we could use that someday” pieces.
Every weekend has started with a to-do list and with that comes that accomplished feeling which definitely outweighs my sadness of not getting to some annual events. On top of that, all of this downtime has allowed us additional time to stick around and really get to know our neighbors.
Look, judge as you may, but there are 12 little girls in this neighborhood (we don’t really breed boys — except for baby Olen — poor dude), and we tried really hard at first. We were good. But there comes a time when mental health and stability (both the kids and the parents) outweighs the fear.
This isn’t a public service announcement. I assure you that if you have reasons to continue to fully social distance, please do. With the way things are right now, I have no idea what to believe or do. Honestly, we just hope what we are doing is best for our family and kids and completely respect those who do not feel that it is time yet.
For us, it happened slowly, and then all at once. I mean, these are kids. Social distancing is about impossible. They know the rules of washing hands, baths at the end of the night, no eating/drinking after each other, etc. But do you know what else they are getting to experience? Friendship and freedom.
And as parents, so are we. Don’t get me wrong, we have always looked out for each other and tried to get together when we could, but honestly, I don’t know that our neighborhood has ever been closer or more connected. We have a text group for the moms to keep track of all the kiddos and are even have a block party in the works.
One neighbor taught me how to deadhead my pots, another one is kicking my butt in the workout area, and you better believe if there is a cop, ambulance or fire truck in the hood, we are all coming together to make sure everyone is OK.
Like an extended family, we are there for each other — to pour love onto each other’s babies, make sure grills are turned off and just enjoy each other.
Weeknights and weekends have been a new adventure for us, but one that I am totally in love with. Being home has taken on a new meaning. It’s taking care of what is ours — our house, our friendships, and, just plain and simple, our people.
This year, we may miss out on a busy schedule of outings, but we sure aren’t missing any adventure, friendship or fun while staying in.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.