It’s been a season of transition and growth around here at the Cohen household. Between Marc starting his new job officially (moving from the four month intern process to full blown insurance dude) and me going back to work after more than a decade at home, there were huge sweeping changes about how we live our lives. The kids have all grown up a lot this summer. They’re working together more and more (not that the fighting and squabbling have stopped altogether…) but I’m seeing glimmers of a closeness that wasn’t there at the beginning of the summer. This has been the summer of the Great Hair Crisis of 2015, the summer of Minecraft and learning to write. (Can you figure out which kid matches up with which descriptor?)
Even with the struggles around childcare and the guilt, the never ending laundry and dishes and no time to do any of it – there were still moments that I’d live over and over again if I could.
– Taking the kids to the ocean for the first time. It probably wasn’t the first time – but it felt like it was. I couldn’t get them out, they love, love, loved the ocean. It was blissful – to the point where the flat tire we got on the way there didn’t detract at all from the overall fabulousness of the day. Becky came with Abby, so we had three adults, and a buddy for my water-phobic girl – but watching Jessie and Sam in the ocean that day is going to be a memory I’m going to cherish…
– Storyland. We always meant to get back there, but the summers haven’t traditionally been a time where we had a surplus of wealth or time in the past. We went the last time when Julie was a few months old, and it was great – but this time was so much better. We brought Lilli and Sarah with us, and stayed for two nights at Annie’s house. Becky and Abby came too (which makes any family occasion so much better, not only because I adore Becky, but because having Abby meant that Julie had a partner in crime and Sam could be with the older kids).
– We got an XBox and an itty bitty flat screen television. We aren’t really a materialistic sort of family – for a very long time, we had one old school cell phone that Marc and I shared and only one television. We’ve added to that list of electronics substantially over the past couple of years, but getting the XBox and the television so that Marc and Sam can play minecraft together was a brilliant idea.
– The bunk beds. Moving Julianna out of our bedroom was a HUGE step, and there were moments when I was kicking myself for doing it at the same time that she was adjusting to not having me home with her every day. June was NOT a good month for my baby, and it was because there were just so many transitions all at once. But putting those beds together, and shopping for her new comforter and pillows, and then her obvious joy and delight in having her own big girl bed and her own space – it was wonderful to watch.
– Working. My job, after being at home with my kids for so long, is such a lovely surprise. I had been wondering for a while about what my life would look like, after Julianna started kindergarten. Without a kid at home, did I need to be here? But… how could I give up that time after school? Lose those conversations with Jessie after I picked her up, and miss out on seeing their little faces coming out of the door. Try and cram homework, dinner, togetherness, and bedtime into just a few short hours after work? But how could I find a job that would allow me to do pick up and drop off? Getting the job at Literacy Volunteers was a dream come true, and that was before I even started it. After two months and a half months of working – I still love it. I love working at the library, I love opening the office every morning, I love talking to the students and working with women I respect and genuinely enjoy hanging out with – this is nearly an ideal working experience. And starting next week, it’ll get even better, because I’ll be out in time four days a week to pick my babies up from school.
– Camp Grammy. Because I’ve been home for the vast majority of the kids’ lives, they missed out on a lot of one-on-one Grammy time. I like my mother too – so if they were going over to her house, so was I. But this summer wouldn’t have been possible without my mother, and her relationship with Julianna is lovely to watch. Julie really blossomed, having that time with my mom, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
– Yesterday afternoon, there was this moment… I had been at work all morning and came home for early afternoon. And it was so hot, so ridiculously hot and the sky was grey and threatening to pour, so we didn’t want to go anywhere especially… the girls and I painted our fingernails, and then the three kids and I just hung out in the living room. I was reading, Julie was sitting in her little “hide-out” that she constructed in the corner of the room. Sam was on one couch, and Jessie was curled up right next to me, and there was something on television – it was so peaceful and relaxed. Yes, there were dishes waiting, and laundry to fold and I should have been shopping for back to school sneakers or making the bed, or doing something more constructive than curled up with my girl, with my other two right there, but I didn’t want anything more that what I had, right at that very moment. Then Marc came home, and it was like everything was perfect.
This season in my life is very different in a lot of ways from what I had before. My identity has changed, my world is bigger. My kids are growing, and their worlds are bigger and richer as well. Jessie is ready for seventh grade, and has grown up so much this summer. She’s responsible and beautiful and I’m so proud of my girl. Sammy is going into third grade, and I can’t wait to see what this year will bring for him. Third grade is traditionally a good year (at least it was for Jessie). Brand new teacher this year, and he’s both nervous and excited. Julianna’s the one who’s life is going to change the most – starting full time kindergarten is more of a game changer than anything she’s experienced before. Marc is looking at opening his own office here in Worcester. Everything is settling in – the older kids start school in a week, and Julie goes the following Monday.