A POST-PANDEMIC REALITY
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what brings me joy. For me it’s always little things, like being near water, walking in the park, creating just to create, eating good food, thrifting for treasures, and snuggling with my littles. These are the things that feed my soul.
As we make our way through summer 2021, how are you doing? Are you finding joy in the little things — or like so many others, are you feeling overwhelmed by all the changes you promised yourself you would make when the world opened back up? I have certainly been feeling the weight of the promises I made myself, while also trying to navigate and adjust to getting back to normal — whatever that even means in 2021. Here I will share with you some of the biggest changes I’ve been experiencing.
I don’t know about you, but I feel something in the air. Personally, my family has gone through so many changes in the last few months that would be a lot even in a year, but coming out of 2020, everything just feels… bigger. There are family milestones. Relationships are ending while others are healing. We’re saying goodbye to past dynamics and welcoming new futures. We are definitely in a post-pandemic reality.
finding the light
While it’s amazing that we are healing and opening back up, there are still kinks we’re all trying to work out from our months of hibernation at home — alone or in our “pods”. Everyone I talk to is learning new things about themselves and figuring out how to cope with the “normal” pace of life.
I was so excited to be able to travel again and finally take Ivy back to my home town in Michigan. We saw family, hung out with friends without fear, and felt truly welcomed. Whatever changes happened last year and whatever differences that may have been uncovered, we were embraced in that comforting familial love — which is exactly what Scott and I had been craving, whether we knew it or not. We needed to be reminded of that light. Not only in us, but the light in those we love so much.
seeing kindness in others
Speaking of changes, Ivy is going through plenty of changes herself. Since her surgery in March, she has gone through two helmets and multiple design changes, thanks to her crafty mom. She outgrew her first helmet and has now graduated to the last one that she will need! We’ve seen so much progress and are very relieved to hear that she’s right on track to graduating from her helmet by (or shortly after) her first birthday in October. Our experience with Hanger Clinic has been outstanding, and I am endlessly amazed at not only the doctors at Vanderbilt Hospital, but also with our orthotist who is shaping and molding Ivy’s head day by day. The difference is incredible in such a short time. It took a few weeks for us to get used to properly caring for her new accessory, but it wasn't long until we got into a good routine.
I am so proud of Ivy and inspired by her bravery through it all. She wears the helmet with no shame. It warms my heart every time someone asks us about her helmet or compliments her. I especially love the curiosity from other kids. One little girl asked her mom, “Why is she wearing that?”aAnd the mom said, “She gets to wear that! Isn’t that special?” We’ve also heard from a sweet girl that Ivy’s helmet looks like cake! I mean…Heart. Melt.
We started calling her helmet “the crown that is fixing her boo boo” because she truly is our queen! I’m so encouraged by all the moms out there who are teaching their children to be inquisitive and kind to others who look a little different than themselves.
learning new routines
I don’t know where I would be without Geo. He is our social butterfly who gets me out of the house and into nature, and reminds me of just how sweet the world can be! He loves his friends so much and is always looking to meet new people. It’s abundantly clear that he was ready for the open world again!
I’m also a little sad to report that “Cow” has been replaced by Paw Patrol. Don’t worry, I have no intention of painting a Paw Patrol collection — but it makes it even more special that we are launching the Farm Animals Collection at the perfect time.
Geo truly is amazing, and is legitimately the sweetest little boy. He loves his baby sister and always wants her in his crib in the morning. The two of them crack up together, and it’s the cutest thing ever to see them giggling with each other. One day, maybe, they might even get the hang of sharing toys!
I find myself giving Geo advice that, in turn, reminds me how to meet my basic needs: How to take a deep breath when I’m feeling frustrated, how to listen to my body, to be kind, silly, brave, to explore, read, play, dream, and yes — watch TV and chill.
BATTLING THE DREAM VISION
While I do my best to be my children's friend and guide (not to mention a good friend, daughter, wife, and business owner), I don’t always live up to my dream vision of how that should look. There’s so much pressure to keep doing better, keep leveling up, do it perfectly but then let go of perfection, be cool but be real, share everything but be safe, let them go but keep them close.
Here’s the thing I’m learning: When I make time for myself, give back when I can, and throw perfection out the door, I find love for me. When I choose to make memories with my family and seek out support from friends who will meet me when and where I am in that exact moment, I find love.
These are the routines that feed my soul and shove negativity out the door.
always remember love
Last year was clearly hard, but I’m worried this year will be even harder. 2020 uncovered so much brokenness, and we all made promises to change. We promised ourselves we would be different — that we would recognize our privilege, that we would speak up when needed, and that we would give back.
The thing is, I don’t think any of us expected to be dealing with the pressures of getting back to “normal.” All of the daily stressors of being a parent, growing a business, and being a good wife/daughter/friend now come with an extra layer of responsibility. How do we find opportunities to seek out new relationships and teach our children a new way of living when we can barely catch our breath?
pause and remember the beauty
I know our kids will read about this time in history books. How will this history be portrayed? Will they get it right? Will I look back and see a difference in my life before and after the pandemic? I got pregnant and had a baby. I learned about white privilege and inclusivity that has changed the way I make decisions for myself and my family. My family overcame the shocking news that our precious girl was born with a disability. All of this is more than a lot to take, but it all made me realize something.
We found beauty in healing. We were forced to prioritize our kids over everything else. We embraced new normals. We probably never, ever would have gotten that time together if it weren’t for the pandemic, and I will always savor the memories created during that time and the incredible lessons it taught me.
So when the pressures of racing back to life as I knew it creep up, my challenge is to remember not only the hard times, but also the love that came out of the year. There’s such a mystery to life, and it’s very clear we have little control over it. All we can do is love as best we can while we’re here. Evolve as needed, seek simplicity, find joy!