+
upworthy
Family

I'm dreading my kids going back to school, but not because of COVID

I'm dreading my kids going back to school, but not because of COVID
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Yesterday I was hiking along a river with 12-year-old and 7-year-old daughters. We were about an hour from our home in rural Oregon, and someone told us there was a waterfall about half a mile away. It was probably some of the clearest water I've ever seen, almost bathwater clear, and it was a place we'd always talked about going to as a family, but never actually had the time. We were all in swimming suits and we jumped in pools along the way.

We chatted about who knows what, taking our time, just trying to get the most out of the summer. My wife and son were behind us, checking out a pool on the other side of the river that they thought looked interesting. We planned to meet up later at the van, drive back into town, and get some drive-thru.

Naturally, this outing doesn't sound like much, but we've been doing a lot of these little afternoon trips to different locations around Oregon this summer. When we haven't gone on family hikes, we've watched movies every night after dinner. We've shared almost every meal together, gone on walks as a family around our neighborhood, and rode bike rides across town. On the weekends, we almost always roast marshmallows in our backyard.

To contrast this with the summer of 2019—or as many summers as I can recall as a working father and husband—I've never had this kind of time to spend with my kids. Never. I work two jobs, one in education and another as a freelance writer. On a normal day, I'd get up around 5 AM to write, then drive 30 min to my university job, work until 6 PM or later, drive home, have dinner, get the kids to bed, and then maybe write some more before going to bed. My wife also works full-time in education, so most of our interactions have involved coordinating our lives so we can set sail in different directions, managing our work lives and our children's lives.


Weekends have always been filled with sports, or summer camps, or church activities, or shuttling kids to friends' houses. We'd often take a week off here or there to drive to visit Grandmas, aunts, and uncles, all in different states, rushing from one house to another to see everyone, and then rush home. All so I could get back to getting up before my children to rush into work and getting home with just enough time to share a meal and hassle them into bed.

But now, in the summer of 2021, I'm kind of in this strange middle zone. I'm still working from home for the time being, so there's no commute. The summer programs I usually run were reduced because of budget cuts, so I have more time to be with my kids than I've ever had in my nearly 15 years as a dad.

I have to admit, right now I'm kind of dreading sending them back to school. It seems so clear that life is going to go back to what it was before, and I feel a very urgent need to get the most out of this summer.

Don't get me wrong—the pandemic has been terrible. My wife spent just over three weeks in the hospital last October, three of those days in the ICU, and I've never been so afraid of losing the most wonderful person in my life. Having the kids learning from home while my wife and I worked from home was easily one of the most stressful experiences of my life. And all of this is just what I've gone through personally. It doesn't even touch on the financial hardships and the heartbreaking loss of life that literally millions of people have gone through in the past 18 months.

But right now, I feel like I have this opportunity to be with my kids before the madness of school, working endless hours to make ends meet, and extracurricular activities come kicking in my door again. I have this time to just hang out and chat with my three kids, listening to their dorky laughter as we play another round of UNO or as my 12-year-old daughter breaks into her hilarious impersonation of a squid.

So I'm doing everything I can to maximize it this time. I'm savoring it because I know that I might never have it again. We are doing all the hikes we've thought about but never done. We are watching all the movies we've talked about streaming but never had the time to actually stream. We are sharing all the meals, and all the laughs, and all the time that we've never had before.

And I must say, I'm loving it.


Clint Edwards is the creator of the daddy blog No Idea What I'm Doing. He is a parenting contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, and The View, and he is the author of three books on parenting. The most recent is Fatherish.

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Courtesy of Woodell Productions

This speech had all the things, and the Maid of Honor wasn't even there

May we all have a best friend like Ally Lothman.

Lothman had just given birth to her first child (according to Today.com) and was unable to make it to the wedding of her lifelong best friend Michelle Levenson. But Lothman’s Maid of Honor duties were still gloriously fulfilled.

A now-viral video, posted to TikTok by wedding photography and videography company Woodell Productions, shows that even though Lothman couldn’t celebrate in person, her FaceTimed wedding toast managed to bring everyone at the reception—along with everyone who watched online—to tears.
Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

People think everyone should experience these things 'at least once in their lifetime'

Things like seeing an eclipse and having a true best friend make life worth living.

Representative Images from Canva

Here are some things everyone should experience once in their lifetime

If there’s one thing human beings all have in common, it’s our shared impermanence. No matter our race, gender, social class, wealth status, health regimen, moral code, political leaning, or any other divisive element, we all get one life. One life to hopefully fill with as many memorable, soul nourishing, expansive experiences as possible.

But let’s face it, there are more experiences available that there are days and hours in which to do them. Therefore, we have to use discernment. So, which experiences are truly must-haves in our all-too-limited time on this planet?

The answers to this question are undoubtedly personal, but perhaps some things, just like the inevitable exit of mortal coil, are universal.

According to a recent discussion on Ask Reddit, here are things one must absolutely “experience at least once in their lifetime”:
Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Helicopter's thermal imaging helps save a young autistic girl lost in a Florida swamp

“I just love how the deputy greeted her. What a beautiful ending. You guys are the best!”

A deputy locates a missing girl in a Florida swamp.

A 5-year-old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) wandered off into a swamp near Tampa, Florida, around 5:00 pm on Monday, February 26. The good news is that the girl was saved in about an hour thanks to the work of some brave sheriff’s officers and their incredible thermal technology.

The girl wandered from her home and was quickly reported missing by her family to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff quickly dispatched its aviation unit that used thermal imaging technology to scan the nearby swamplands to try to find the young girl before nightfall.

Thermal imaging technology captures images based on the heat emitted by objects, allowing us to see temperature differences even in the dark, making it super handy for night vision and heat detection. The thermal technology helped the officers quickly identify the girl from high above the trees.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

10 things kids get in trouble for that adults get away with all the time

Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Kids know when we're being hypocritical.

Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.

Keep ReadingShow less