I feel very fortunate that our family has basically been most of the way quarantined for the past 6 months on our road trip! We were already used to being in tight quarters with one another and had the homeschooling thing already going. However, the parts of home that we were looking forward to the most are no longer an option.
The beginning of the pandemic
I’m sure everybody has their own story of the way this whole pandemic has effected them in all sorts of ways. The impacts are strong and deep rooted for many. Let me just say, before I ramble on about the things we miss most, how fortunate we are to have our family, health, good food and the ability to be flexible with our time.
In preparation for coming home the things we had identified as things we wanted more of were: getting the girls into educational programs outside of our homeschool, get our little one swimming, spend lots of time with friends and for Justin and I to find something we could create together in some way to keep our minds active and our creative juices flowing.
Jumping into educational classes/programs within our community was something the girls were both excited about and I was encouraged by that. Being taught skills by someone other than your parents is an important thing to experience here and there. I was also really looking forward to getting to know other homeschooling families in the area. I know there are a ton in Portland, probably some just down the street from us, I just haven’t been connected to many official homeschooling programs. I naively thought that the summer months would be full of organized homeschooling activities and classes for kids but I found that the bulk of them are during the school year which is when we have been traveling. The goals this year was to plug us into some of those homeschooling events and make some connections. I researched classes/programs for weeks and weeks and signed us up for some great ones! All of these classes have obviously been cancelled which is heart breaking. Big picture is, we are very fortunate and this is a tiny pebble in the road.
My little 4 year old isn’t little enough for me to be with her every moment any more. With this increased independence I would feel a lot more confident if she knew how to swim. It makes me really nervous to be near deep water with her and give her much freedom to roam because of the safety risk. She’s not usually the kid that thinks, “Hmm, this looks a little scary. I think I’ll stay away from the edge of the water.” Her thought is more like, “Ooo, look at that sweet little bug! I’m going to go to the edge of the water to get a better look.” Splash! I’m hoping that some lakes open up during the summer and aren’t busy so we can get that girl to learn how to swim. She’s so close!
We have been able to do two friend meet ups during the pandemic. They haven’t been regular visits by any means but when there is a pandemic, you have to get creative! For one we invited our friends on our front porch and we moved our furniture around to face the window. We used cell phones to hear one another and played games like charades, used dry erase markers to interact on the windows and used magazine cutouts for playing store. Other than the phone sound delay being confusing and a bit frustrating it was great. The kids played for over 3 hours together! We missed hugging each other but we were glad to at least see each other.
Some things that have changed
Our only source of income was our Airbnb. However, since the pandemic, all our guests rightfully cancelled their stay. The summer is our busy season where we usually have the place booked solid. So, to go from a full house to an empty one was a dramatic change in incoming cash flow. Justin was also experiencing some health issues (non-COVID related) and we don’t currently have health insurance.
Because of the fact that we didn’t have any income from our Airbnb and Justin’s health concerns, after many late night lengthy talks, we decided it was best for Justin to go back to work for a short period of time. So, for 3 months Justin will be getting back into code monkey mind set and the girls and I will be flying solo.
A ray of sunshine that I see during these tough times for so many is that communities are getting creative, thinking outside the box and making some connections that wouldn’t have otherwise been made. I see folks within the community helping each other out in little ways every day; picking up grocery items, sharing garden starts and leaving sweet notes on each others porches. I hope everyone is thinking of how to help neighbors, family and friends throughout all of this; it’s how we’ll all get through.