The “Kids and Pets” chapters of my life have been some of my favorites. I have absolutely loved every moment of raising my three (now young adult) daughters and a furry labrador retriever daughter too! Sure, it’s been as messy and humbling as it’s been beautiful, but I wouldn’t want to change a thing. It’s been filled with so much love and important life lessons.
My oldest girls reached independence with their own apartments in the last two years and my youngest headed off to college. In what seemed like a snap of the fingers, we had an empty nest that included losing our 14 year old lab. The nest was quiet and empty....for a whopping 2 weeks.
Coronavirus seemed to pop up out of nowhere, sucker punching the world. We barely had time to feel sad about our empty nest before it was suddenly full again. With a quarantine lockdown, our daughters decided to come back home so we could navigate the pandemic together. Life still had to roll on, so we quickly turned our empty nest into an office building for 4 , college annex and art studio for one! We were now running our own “WeWork”, housing the offices for a sportswear exec., writer, lawyer, dietitian and classrooms for a graphic arts major. Nothing funny about the Corona Pandemic, but all of us under the same roof again trying to make it all work was very funny! My husband tagged me “the watercooler” because anytime anyone took a break, they seemed to find me--even on the days I was hiding. I didn’t get a lot of writing done on Book #2 as the watercooler, but I got to know I’ll always have the treasured job of being where they come to share their thoughts and feelings.
Just in case it wasn’t chaotic enough: a few weeks into quarantine, we added a new puppy to the “empty nest”. Let’s call it a vulnerable Corona purchase. Having everyone around and our dinner table full again, we fell prey to the nostalgia of it all. I’m pretty sure our grown daughters brought back the old, “Please, please, please can we get a puppy?” They had the same childhood promises to walk her and feed her while they were back home. They even threw in they would always help take care of her and dog sit when my hubby and I wanted to travel. We named her Finley, meaning Sunbeam. She really was and is a warm, bright light we all needed.
In a few shorts weeks of quarantine, we had come full circle. Kids and pets were in our home. Everything was loud. Everything was messy. Everything was beautiful.
Quarantine wasn’t easy but it turned out to be an unexpected, special gift. Weeks under the same roof and very little access to the rest of the world, we got through it together. We worked, studied, and exercised. We assured each other through the disappointments of cancelled plans and encouraged each other’s mental fortitude. We had “Quarantine Cuisine Saturday Nights,” learning to cook things we never knew how. Falafel anyone? We barbequed and followed it up with backyard dance parties. We welcomed and trained a new furry family member, all having the chance to bond with her. We laughed a lot. We shed some tears. We strengthened our family bond more than we ever thought we could.
Coronatime showed us our “Kids and Pets” chapters were anything but over. We will just keep adding more family and more beautiful chapters to them.