Life Lately, July 2020

Despite the ongoing quarantine lifestyle, life has felt abundantly full lately!  Here’s the latest…

My office moved in the middle of June and I ended up transitioning to working back in the office for the most part.  There was so much to unpack and organize, strategize and coordinate for the new space. Fortunately, very few co-workers are in the office, so it feels quite safe and we had time to get everything organized and figured out. 

While I enjoyed the flexibility of working from home and I felt productive, it was really insightful to notice the difference in my focus, productivity and energy when I got back into the office.  A significant factor is the move to a standing desk for most of the day.  Who would have thought that standing would make you feel so much more energized?!  Also, I like the routine of going into the office and the psychological separation between home and work.  We had a big tax deadline on July 15th which is obviously not typical.  That week I had to work from home in the evenings, but the rest of this past month I don’t even open my laptop at home, which allows for a great mental break from work.  During the full quarantine period, it felt like work was always there, always beckoning.  Now that I’m feeling more energized and productive during the workday, I can easily step away for a leisurely evening with my family.  

The kids are in full-on summer mode.  We had them do some math practice for several weeks at the beginning of the summer, but that routine tapered off about the time I returned to the office. Probably not a coincidence.  They’re also going to bed late and sleeping in late.  Often I don’t even see Sienna before I leave in the morning!  She’s getting to that pre-teen age and sleeping in seems to go with the territory. 

While at home during the day, the kids are finding a lot of imaginative and creative things to do.  Last night Mateo showed me all his stuffed animals that Sienna has performed “surgery” on my opening a seam, stuffing in extra pillow stuffing material, and sewing them back up.  He was thrilled with their extra coziness.  He’s also been following her lead in making good use of every cardboard box that enters the house – and with Amazon purchase replacing Target runs, there are a lot of them!  Earlier this week Teo showed us all the sports “figurines” he made out of cardboard and colored pencils: John Elway, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Barry Bonds, Sonny Liston, Magic Johnson, Jason Taylor, and his favorite Larry Csonka.  They’re really cute!  I get such a kick out the athletes Teo cites as his favorites because Dennis’s influence is so prominent!  

A fellow Cambridge mom and classroom aide recommended a book I recently started called Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony M. Esolen.  It’s written in satirical style and is quite funny.  As I read the second chapter the other evening, I came across a passage about the wonders of gazing at the sky.  Whether kids are watching clouds float by or contemplating the stars, there’s great wonder to be found in the simple sky.  I could hear Bugs Bunny from the living room.  I promptly marked my book at the next paragraph and hopped up.  “Kids, do you want to come look at the sky with me?” I called to them.  To my delight, they replied, “Yes, let’s go see the stars!”

We scurried outside to discover the marine layer had rolled in and very few stars were visible.  We still took a few moments to sit in the quiet of the nighttime sky and be still.  I felt myself relax as I took a very deep breath and exhaled for a long time.  Teo ran in to get a flashlight and the next thing I knew he and Sienna were making shadow puppets on the shade hanging from our gazebo.  They started telling elaborate stories about their shadow animals, and that’s how Dennis found us when he came outside.  I sat and marveled at their imaginations and ability to make something fun with the tools at their disposal.  Kids have a wonderful capacity to explore, imagine, and create. Sometimes it just takes turning off the television and inviting them to join you outside.  They’ll take it from there.

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