Dear Son #1, #2, & #3,
It’s been the little things, hasn’t it? The little things that have kept us reasonably sane these last 15 months. The little things that we’ve had to look forward to. The little things that have morphed themselves into big things. All of a sudden, we lost play dates, grandparent visits, parties, pools, school, playgroups, trips, toy stores, and the library. And I believe there was actually a moment where we all looked at each other with dumbfounded expressions thinking, “Uh, what do we do now?”. However, we’re a pretty resourceful bunch and, as the months went on, we discovered a few things that saved us from killing each other. What was once considered little, became very big indeed.
The great outdoors
No matter the weather, we explored the great outdoors. We hiked through the forest, dug around in the creek, looked for worms, jumped in puddles and even counted how many fire hydrants we could find in one walk—21 in total. What was once something that we simply took for granted, became something we thoroughly appreciated.
Baking soda and vinegar
While I always knew that adding baking soda and vinegar together equaled a disastrous mess; what I didn’t know was how many different ways you could make the mess—like volcanoes, balloons, “Wizard’s Potion” and bottle rockets. So many endless possibilities. What was once something that I dared not attempt with three boys, became something we did on a weekly basis.
That’s right! We discovered all the fun stuff that we were too busy to really focus on playing with before. Megablocks, Hot Wheels, Lego, train tracks, PlayDoh and Cabbage Patch Dolls. What were once things that were ignored, became things that were once again valued.
Art and Crafts
Not a big thing to many, not a desirable thing to attempt for most but it turned into a big thing for us. “What are we going to make today?”, became the question asked most mornings. I know you’ll agree with me when I say nothing is more satisfying than making a monster out of a toilet paper roll or covering the entire kitchen with paint and pompoms. What was once an activity we didn’t have time for, became something we made time for.
No matter the season, we sought out big hills. Not only to climb up or slide down, but to be pirate ships, lookout towers, castles and giants. What once was something that was passed by, became something that was whatever we wanted it to be.
Once the weather got nice, off came the clothes and out came the picnic blanket, the juice boxes and the sand in our lunches. Due to the fact that you three are literally the messiest humans to picnic with, you ate yours on the blanket and I sat at our picnic table (with my clothes on). But was still a fun way to eat lunch; and if things got messy, out came the hose. What once was something we did occasionally, became something we did regularly.
I bathe you boys once a week because it is stressful, messy, exhausting, and quite frankly, only necessary once a week. BUT the pools and the beaches were closed which meant the bathtub became our pool when it was chilly outside. Provided I put towels around the tub and stayed within the vicinity—it was a great way to spend a morning. What was once something I avoided at all costs, became something that actually is still avoided at all costs…
I am now pretty sure that we all know how to bake chocolate banana muffins and raisin bread with our eyes closed. It did not take long for baking together to become a popular morning event. What once was something I did alone, became something that we did together.
Closed beaches didn’t stop us from having beach days. All we needed were some reclining lawn chairs, a plastic pool, some towels and some tunes and we were set. Let the (sometimes naked) sun bathing begin! What once was something that we just went to the beach for, became something that was way easier for Mommy to pack for.
I cannot stress enough how playgrounds (which many consider a little thing) were HUGE things for both myself and you boys. We explored every single playground in our small town. We explored them in the winter, the spring, the summer and fall. They became a regular activity that we looked forward to every week. They became (and actually still are) our biggest thing. What was once something we took advantage of, became something we completely depended on.
There have been many awful things about these last 15 months, but there have been many amazing things too. Some days it was tough to see the silver lining and not miss the stuff we used to be able to do. Some days we resented having to be creative and wished for our old lives back. Some days we got sick of each other and just needed some space. But most days we had some fun, did some learning, and discovered the beauty in the little things that have always been around us yet have never been truly savored. Now as we start to see some light at the end of this very long tunnel, I hope that some things don’t change. I hope we no longer take everything for granted, appreciate what/who is around us and that we continue to simply soak up all the little things. Because as long as we’re together—even when we’re driving each other up the freaking wall—that’s the biggest thing of all.
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This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Minutiae”.