Sunday, July 26, 2020

The summers of my childhood

As a kid, my parents rented the same beach house every year for the month of August. We would rent a U haul, and drive down our bikes, boogie boards, surfboards, roller blades, books, toys, clothing and never enough towerls, and set up shop. We were friends with the owner of the local kayak shop and had an open account at the small general store, for things like popsicles, chocolate chip cookie ingredients, and other necessary groceries. It was pure freedom. Pre-cell phones, we hardly saw a screen all summer. Our only rules were to come home for lunch and dinner, and stick together. My brothers and I made friends quickly with the other beach kids, and would bike and swim and play for hours. I'm still a beach kid at heart and can't wait until life can lead me back there again.

We just moved from our East Coast beach town where I finished residency to a big city in the midwest for Fellowship. With the pandemic and the arrival of baby #3, we chose to live in the suburbs, in the heart of a kid friendly, tree lined, park-filled community. Within 1 month my kids have made  a gaggle of friends on the block, biking, meeting up for social-distancing playdates, and doing baking soda-vinegar-food coloring experiments. We have chosen not to participate in organized summer camp for the time being, so their time is unstructured. While the first week was hard, with incessant requests to "watch" or "tablet time," the past few weeks have evolved into what mirrors a summer of my childhood. Sun-kissed, dirty, happy, and (relatively) screen free.

I was pretty nervous to uproot my little family (again) after residency to yet another temporary city for fellowship. But the past month has reassured me that it was an upward move. Career-wise, without a doubt, but for their own needs as well. Change is really scary, but now that we can see the end of the unpacking on the horizon, and we are all in our own beds again, I think it will be a positive change. When I chose to do fellowship and matched, the most common response was "what about your family? Are they coming too?" While I know that many choose to do long distance relationships for training, I am lucky my husband works from home in a flexible position. The question made me wonder about if I was forcing everyone to sacrifice for my own dreams, if I was being selfish in pursuit of my career. Hadn't they endured enough during residency? Were the kids going to be negatively impacted by moving again? Was it wrong? Should I just be grateful I did residency and we all came out in one piece?

But one thing I learned this month, is that I am so incredibly blessed to be part of one resilient, adaptable, and happy crew. My kids will be fine, and have a broader worldview because of their experiences. We are now living in a community that I think will be a better fit than the one we were already comfortable in. Hopefully, everyone will still be happy once midwest winter arrives, but for now, we will enjoy the barefoot freedom of summer.