With Hayden and Hadley finally getting back to school last week, and then this week 9th and 12th graders back in my building, I’ve certainly been reflecting on the upcoming one year mark of the pandemic shutting everything down and causing everyone’s life to come to a screeching halt.
Friday, March 13, 2020 was our last day of school. Friday the 13th will always be an easy day to remember as coinciding with the pandemic ramping up. Teachers always pay attention to a date like Friday the 13th as well as when there’s a full moon 😂
Anyway, just as I was thinking I may write about this past year piggybacking on last week’s Back to School post, I read Shelly ‘s post (at The Queen in Between blog) sharing that she had listened to Laura Tremaine’s podcast – 10 Questions to Mark One Year of the Pandemic.
I thought I’d use these 10 questions as a guide to reflect on this past year.
1. What was life like in early 2020?
Life was very “normal” in early 2020. I think it was late February when we started to hear more about the Coronavirus. The week before school shut down, I went with Hadley’s Girl Scout troop on an overnight field trip in Ohio. There was definitely talk of precautions that would be put in place at COSI to make the field trip safe. On Tuesday, March 10, we gave the ACT at school while school closure talk was heightened. The governor started holding daily afternoon press conferences. My dad was about to visit, and my brother and I were shocked he still decided to visit as with each day and each press conference more restrictions were being put into place. He arrived on Thursday, March 12. While I made dinner, I asked him to pay attention to the daily briefing because we’d heard that he’d make an announcement about school closures. He then said, March 13th would be the last day of in person learning for a while.
2. What was the biggest change?
The biggest change was life coming to a screeching halt! All of the sudden, we were supposed to stay home, learn online, and not socialize.
3. What were your coping mechanisms?
Unfortunately, I think one of my coping mechanisms was cooking and baking! lol
Also, when I feel like life is “out of control,” I try to control what I can! So, I continued with a routine, made sure to get outside for a walk, and keep life as normal as possible for Hayden and Hadley.
4. What did connection in your relationships look like?
Well, as a family, we spent a lot of time together. We went from running everywhere with school and activities to all four of us being at home. We had to be more intentional with family relationships with phone calls, text messages, Zoom, and Face time.
I felt like it was difficult navigating some friendships. No friendships were lost during this time, but there were varying degrees of opinions and following of protocols based on health issues or beliefs.
5. What will you remember the most?
Honestly, I will remember this extra time together as a family of four. I’m a rule follower and an introvert, so when things shut down and we were told to stay home, I kind of embraced it. Of course, once days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, of course, I missed “what was,” but the kids were at a great age to be home. They could be independent, but then we also made time for things that we wouldn’t usually have done like “Game Night” on a Wednesday or bike rides as a family.
6. What was the biggest challenge?
For me, the biggest challenge was knowing the right thing to do. Again, as a rule follower, I had no trouble following the rules of stay home, masking up, and keeping distance. My anxiety crept up when some restrictions were lessened, and it was time to make decisions about the kids playing sports, going on vacation, visiting family, etc.
I also worried about loved ones staying healthy and safe as well as family who live alone.
7. What was a beautiful memory?
One specific memory doesn’t pop into mind, but again, the time at home as a family was very meaningful. I also *mostly* enjoyed being home with them for school. (We had a good balance with them going to the pod two days a week). We are already back to being very busy, so I’m already reflecting on when we were able to slow down and not have 100 things on our plates.
Another beautiful memory was getting the vaccine. Again, I feel blessed that teachers were made a priority, so they would feel safe once students returned to school. Now, that second vaccine knocked me on my tail, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
8. What do you believe now that you didn’t one year ago?
It’s amazing how resilient and adaptable people are when they have to be.
Also, not that I didn’t know it before, but there are so many good people in the world. First responders, front line workers, educators, and others were all tested, but felt the support of people near and far. Also, communities, schools, neighbors and others all came together when needed.
9. What would you do differently?
I’m not sure there’s anything I would do differently. It is just crazy to me how from mid-March to the beginning of April, each day with each daily briefing from the governor added a new layer of severity with the pandemic. We went from thinking schools would be shut down for two weeks to students in our district not returning to the classrooms for almost a year. It wasn’t that I didn’t take it seriously, it’s just that I’ve never lived through anything like that, so, like most, I thought this would all be short-lived. I actually appreciated the layered implementation of restrictions because it gave us time to plan and adjust rather than panic.
10. What will you carry forward?
Besides always having hand sanitizer nearby??😬 I will remember the goodness of others and cherish the memories and time at home with my family.
I can’t believe that it’s been a year of social distancing, mask wearing, and constant hand sanitizing.
I counted my blessings throughout this entire year. I’ve been thankful for a cozy home, a job, food on the table, the health and wellness of my family, and feeling safe and secure during this time. It was never lost on me that there were doctors and nurses working 80 hours a week, people lost loved ones, and others hardly left their homes.
It wasn’t easy, and some days were harder than others. As a mom and a teacher, I sometimes felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted at times. Once Hayden and Hadley returned to school, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It was only then that I realized the amount of stress I’d sometimes been carrying with underlying worry.
The month of March always brings a sense of renewal to me with the weather, the school year winding down, and summer on the horizon. I’m hoping that we continue move forward, with no setbacks, so that Covid can be in the rearview mirror sooner rather than later!
What was your biggest challenge this past year, and what has been a beautiful memory for you?
I hope you’re having a great week! See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.