We Needed This Summer

Photo credit to Stefanie Cole Photography 2020

We are a two-parent working family that does not get summers off. We both work full-time, year-round, sun or shine. In fact, my husband usually travels for the Army Reserves 4 weeks out of the summer. My girls typically have spent their summers at a combination of daycare, camps, and grandparents.

Our summer moments together as a family of four have always been stolen from weeknights, the few weekends that my husband wasn’t traveling, and maybe a week of vacation in the New England area if we were really lucky. We never had the luxury of not rushing off to work every morning or endless days of family time. Don’t get me wrong, we have had great summer memories in the past, but since our family time is limited, it is sacred to us, and we treasure it all the more when we get it. 

Fast forward to the year 2020. The year of COVID-19. The year where our most-used words have been quarantine, Zoom, masks, and distance learning. But it is also the year where our family will be transitioning from a family of four to a family of five. The year where we will go from having two girls to two girls and a BOY.

It’s a big year for us regardless of what’s going on in the world, and it’s definitely not the year that I had envisioned when I saw the positive pregnancy test. But if you are a parent, you know that you are never really in control. Of anything. Ever. You have to surrender yourself, make the best of things, keep a positive attitude, and know that this too shall pass. 

And guess what? Despite the stress of COVID-19, distance learning, and working from home with two small children, this year has been GOOD. It has been better than good. It has given our family the gift of time. The gift of just being together. Of slowing down and enjoying life. It has given us a summer of laid back mornings, late nights, and sunny, sand-filled days.

While I’ve still had to work my regular full-time schedule, I am not rushing out the door in the mornings. I can meet my family at the lake for a lazy afternoon when I’m done working. I can get laundry and cleaning done during the week, so precious weekend time isn’t spent on it.

My husband is not working 70+ hour weeks and/or traveling all summer. Although he has been furloughed, which can be a stressful time in itself, he’s been able to spend the entire summer {after an entire Spring} with our girls, which I never thought would have been a possibility. He has taught them to fish. My girls have gotten to spend so much time together {for better or for worse}. We have spent endless hours and days at our local lake. Our summer has felt like one long, endless vacation, with no Sunday scaries in sight.

Before you get to thinking that I’m making it out to be that every day has been a dream, it hasn’t. I can assure you that there has still been plenty of yelling about picking up toys, tears, sibling fights, and entirely too much screen time. There has been plenty of stress over the virus itself and to what capacity schools will reopen in the fall. But regardless of those tense moments, this time has been worth it.

There will likely never be a summer again where we are all at home together, and this is not lost on me.

This summer was the time that our family needed to slow down. We needed this family time before we expand our crew. Thank you, COVID-19, for this summer.

In my eyes, this uncertain and challenging time is no different than having to navigate the difficult days and phases of motherhood. It’s all about the perspective that you have. Whether you choose to see the silver lining or the clouds. When life gives you lemons, you can stew in the sourness, or you can add some sugar and make lemonade. And we’ve had a lot of lemonade and sunshine this summer.

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Aarika lives in Trumbull with her husband, two daughters (2013 and 2015), and son (2020). Originally from Ulster County, NY, she fell in love with her husband at a UConn football game when she told him he had nice biceps and the rest is history. Outside of work and motherhood, she enjoys eating good food, sharing a drink with friends, summer days spent at Pinewood Lake or on vacation in Cape Cod, and mindlessly streaming too many shows with her husband. Her favorite time of day is early morning before her kids wake up with a hot cup of coffee and a good book.


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