Time for a little recap. As much as I have been itching for fall I can’t believe we’re already at the end of summer and gearing up for Drew’s semester and my…um. What is it called when you live full time with two toddlers and don’t get paid? Indentured servitude? Yeah. I’ll be doing that again.
With hopes of keeping the dreaded tunnel vision at bay, I’m working on a very low key curriculum/guide for our fall together. It’s just so easy to get stuck in surviving the day, and some days we are still so there with sickness or tantrums or general 2-year-old-itis. But more and more often I am craving some kind of routine and push to get moving and accomplish something (anything) before the post-nap crank hours of doom that end with dinner and a downward spiral to bedtime.
So I’m planning some fun weekly themes, a few field trips, lots of mornings at the Y (free childcare is the best gift in the whole world), ping ponging between the free storytimes around the city, and lots of library books and movies to help us learn about the world beyond our little kentucky home. When I pull a few more things together I will write something up on it, I would love to do a sort of virtual toddler co-op/idea swap with anyone who is interested!
I’m also starting a class at a local seminary. I’ve been seeing this really wonderful man for some spiritual direction (which is like counseling specific to working through questions of faith) this summer and he’s invited me to take a class he’s teaching at a seminary just outside of Lexington. When he first suggested it I felt like I had been handed a golden ticket of opportunity, an invitation to a world I feel I’m always longing to be a part of. But now I too can enjoy a whole evening of thoughtful conversation with other adults every week, reading wonderful books about mysticism and spiritual formation, writing (!) and sharing our thoughts with one another. I am completely thrilled. I’m not an academic at heart the way Drew is, but I have missed the college experience of living in a community of people who were daily exposing themselves to new and challenging material, and looking for friends to process with. I’m hopeful about the community I will find this fall!
So clearly I am leaning towards good things this fall. But we have also had a really lovely summer. I had the opportunity to work for an agency here in Lexington where I was able to assist two clients as they got out into the community and worked towards new and challenging goals. It was really refreshing to have a new space and new relationships to offer myself to, but also a bit difficult to find the energy for another caregiving/support role and then come home and offer the same to my own family. I really enjoy this work but the added toll of caring for young children is not a great mix. I’ll be taking a break this fall while Drew ramps up with classes and teaching. (Hence the desperate need to replicate the sweet freedom I enjoyed this summer!)
We were able to see both of our families this summer. My parents came out in June for a week of fun and caring for the twins while I recovered from a minor surgery. Thanks to some hazy days of painkillers I don’t remember a whole lot of what happened that week but I do remember lots of excursions out where the children were perfect angels as we showed off our new favorite city. Near the end of their visit we traveled down for a family reunion with my Dad’s side of the family and then I sobbed (seriously) for the first 30 miles on the road back to Lexington. It’s just too much to think that our toddler babies won’t see Nani and Papi for another year +!
At the beginning of August we had a visit from Rob and Bonnie who treated us to a fun road trip (hotels with pools! The kids were in heaven!) and vacation in South Carolina where we learned the proper way to do beach life: with sparkling water in hand, relaxing under the umbrella while Oma and Grandpa keep up with the minions. It was wonderful in every way. The twins had the time of their lives splashing around and digging to their heart’s content in the sand and we all returned home feeling rejuvenated for the fall ahead. The perfect last hurrah of summer!
I now understand why people move back home when they have kids, it’s such a gift to be able to watch our kids and parents share time together (especially when it means we get to sneak away for a meal or full night of sleep!). I wish it was possible to pop over for a weekend with them during the rhythm of regular life. Special visits are certainly that, but I wish for more of the mundane shared together. Until that is possible, facetime fills the void and I am grateful.
The rest of summer was a haze of humidity and heat that had us seeking refuge in the kiddie pool and fountains downtown while Drew and I swapped childcare duties – me to work and him to study for comps or tutor or work late into the evening at the grocery store. Liz and Zach drove down for the 4th of July and despite lots of rain we had a wonderful time taking in the sights and sounds of downtown at a patriotic picnic and the farmers market. They even cheerfully accompanied us to see Dory, an event which may have provided several years of free birth control as they watched us whisper yell at/wrestle the twins for most of the movie. They are the sort of wonderful friends who will not only put up with another chaotic dinner but also do all the dishes while you bathe the children. We are so glad they have found each other and excited to celebrate their marriage next month!
Catherine flew down from Massachusetts last week, the first time we had seen each other since we were littles ourselves! Our parents put us in each other’s lives when we were not much older than R&E, and a few years ago it was our writing that brought us back into each other’s orbit. It was a treat to have her here, seamlessly folding herself into our chaos, offering her laughter and peace. I’m now more certain than ever that a 3:2 ratio (at a minimum) is what a pleasant home requires. Would anybody like to live in our basement and help us parent? Catherine set the bar quite high, but she could totally type up some pointers or something. I can compensate you with the deep satisfaction that comes from unexpected toddler arms around your neck, smooching your cheeks and giggling before they bound off to discover some new skill or belt out a few more letters of the alphabet. It’s a wild time of life.
But here we are. The dawn of a new semester. Weeks of curriculum have been prepped. Tutoring sessions planned. As of last Friday, comps have been written and while we wait for the verdict a new rhythm has already taken hold. Drew is done with the grocery store and we are basking in the luxury of evenings together. Family dinners. Sharing the exhausting circus of the twins’ bedtime. Sitting in different rooms while we work on our laptops late into the night. Marital bliss you guys.
Wednesday brings the start of the new semester. Drew told me tonight he’s only taking 3 classes so it won’t be too much to also teach an additional four classes and tutor four students. Freaking superman. I am looking forward to the post-phd life when we have boring jobs and stale routines and a meager but stable income. The novelty!