Somehow we made it through a whole year of this, and a little bit more. 3/5 of us are fully vaccinated, restrictions are loosening up (though very inconsistently and not as much for kid activities as for adult ones), and our calendar is filling up again, which is an amazing feeling: we've been going back to church and running errands and eating in restaurants (dim sum again!) and feeling like there is finally a hope of normal life at last.
Marcus survived 7th grade at a school where he knew no one in any of his classes; when they started going back to school two days a week at the end of March, and five days a week at the end of April (for a whopping eight weeks, thanks), he started actually connecting with his teachers, feeling comfortable in the school, and being motivated enough to do work (first quarter grades: low 50s. Final quarter grades: very high 90s). We got nice notes from some of his teachers about "what a pleasant surprise" it's been to get to know him, and to find out that he's smart and funny and asks questions in class. Marcus is looking forward to a summer of sailing, tennis, camping with the Boy Scouts, camping with us, and playing games with his friends. He's been taking the subway back and forth to Magic at the board game cafe by himself when Robert can't make it with him, he's gone to his first church youth group event (pizza, s'mores, and a movie in the youth pastor's back yard with about 20 teens), and he hoards his money to buy candy on his way home from sailing. It's shaping up to be a good summer for him.
Helen had a fantastic time in in-person school. She could talk about Ms. Sarah, Mr. Lee (the funniest man on earth, according to her), Mr. Leavitt, how to get from her classroom to the gym, what her classmates say to Samantha when they pick Samantha up on their way down the stairs to dismissal every day, what Love said, what Frankie did, when she's going to go to Lilliana's house to play, what the baby chicks in her classroom did, and on and on. Robert and I can't compete against the dynamic Mr. Lee/Ms. Sarah duo--every day Helen asks, "Mommy....is today a day I get to go to school again and see Ms. Sarah?" and at this point Samantha throws up her hands and shouts "NO! It's summer! You'll go back to school in September but you won't have Ms. Sarah then! We told you fifty times!" and Helen looks dejected. She's comforted by the fact that she can play freely with Desmond, Jeremy, Bruno, and Wesley and Teddy on our block--movie nights at Bruno's house, long conversations with Jeremy while the older boys attempt completely unsafe stunts on skateboards, afternoons building marble runs or scootering with Ro Ro and Kavi, making slime with Wesley and Teddy and their nanny....she has the most active social life of any of us, with kids ringing the bell for her at least once a day.
Samantha has discovered Snapchat filters, Minecraft campaigns with friends, and a million and one other app/tech/online marvels, including lots of new animation apps and techniques, and also Tinkercad and three-d printing and design. She is the master of YouTube tutorials, and then figures out how to do something new on her phone or iPad or both at once, editing the little movies she makes, sending them to friends, FaceTiming for hours with friends and watching movies together and talking, playing Roblox together--once, even, with some of her friends and with Marcus, too, in his room, while he companionably trash-talked her friends--and exchanging email addresses with girls she meets at camp. She's thrilled to have a different activity every week this summer: Eliot School mixed arts (sewing, painting, cardboard sculptures, wood-working), Girl Scout camp with swimming and canoes and crafts, tennis, beginner sailing on the pond, MFA art camp, a week of pottery camp, a week of circus school...she's looking forward to it all. Her orchestra did some amazing virtual performances this year, too.
Here are some pictures from the past two months.
Baking for Greek Easter (in May this year):
Boy Scout camping in April and May:
Waltham farm bunny/chicken petting and needle felting mother-daughter afternoon:
Last days of school--"class photos" on the playground, arrival, summer care package:
Bike rides and errands:
Assembly Row adventure day--Legoland, ramen lunch, playground:
Downtown adventure day--Children's Museum and Frog Pond opening day with friends:
Seaport adventure day with Sarah and Sean--playground, public art, unicorn fish ice cream cones, sushi burritos/poke bowls, cool public seating, Cardullo's:
Museum of Science adventure day--with waterfront walks and lunch at Tasty Burger North Station:
Greenway adventure day--Chinatown, Dewey Plaza food trucks, NE Aquarium with library passes, Greenway sprinklers, carousel, Boston Public Market ice cream:
Beach adventure day--Constitution Beach and Dunkin' Donuts lunch:
Juneteenth at the MFA lawn, making crowns inspired by Basquiat:
Marcus creations--entirely self-directed Father's Day card:
Helen creations--cards, notes, drawings, collage:
Samantha creations--play food and magnets, watercolors, pour paintings, dollhouse accessories, 3-d printed game pieces, and Telestrations drawings: