Back to School and Day 353
Day 337. On February 15, 2021 one my babies got to go back to school.
Day 350. On March 1, 2021 my other baby got to go back to school.
On March 16, 2020, I wrote down “Day 1” in my planner. Day 1 of school-from-home. Day 1 of quarantine. But, I’m not even sure that was truly Day 1. Maybe I should have started counting two days earlier when everything was cancelled … School cancelled. Church cancelled. Sports cancelled. All of Ryan’s work travel – suspended. But, I didn’t start counting that day. Instead, I rushed around to the places I needed to go and did the things I thought I needed to do to prep … to stock up … to be ready. And yes, I bought the toilet paper everyone said that I was going to need. For Quarantine. For school-at-home. I thought it would be a few weeks. I worried it might be longer. I felt grateful for our community. I was confused and feeling a million different emotions. I was all over the place.
Toward the end of April, I wrote about how Noah was helping me stay positive and thrive.
In September, I wrote about “Virtual School and Life Right Now” … and how I was trying.
And, then I was just over it. No more writing about it. Moving on.
But, here we are. I’m going to write about it again. Because. It’s been a year. It’s been 353 days. 353 days after I wrote “Day 1” in my planner. Nuts. Y’all, it’s nuts.
On Day 337, Audrey re-entered their school in person. On Day 350, Noah got to go too, but only on a rotation. It’s a whole new adjustment. But, they are giddy. You guys. Audrey is just thrilled. It hurts my heart to think that she’s more than halfway through 1st Grade and she only had one semester of Kindergarten IN school. It hurts my heart when I think about things like field trips and field days and just regular recess with friends. All of the elementary-school-times that they won’t get back. And, sure, THIS version of school looks a little bit different. But, they don’t seem to care. Not a bit. They haven’t complained. Not once. Not about wearing a mask for nearly 8 hours. Not about being distanced. A small amount of complaining about having to quietly eat lunch in the library, but not much. They are just so darn happy. Happy to be there. Happy to make a friend. Happy to see people.
Noah is doing his best to stay positive and patiently wait for his turns to go, but I know he’s feeling a little envious. He’s always enjoyed school. He walked out of the building a year ago as a 3rd grader and now I feel like I can see Middle School waving at us up ahead and I want to yell, “NO! Not yet. He’s still little. Leave us alone.”
They are resilient and strong. Our kids. Aren’t they? Aren’t they amazing?! I’m so stinkin proud of them.
If this past, crazy year has taught us anything, it’s how to pivot. [I cannot say that word without hearing Ross Gellar’s voice in the back of my head.] Pivot.
It’s that change is constant. It’s that you can’t plan too far ahead.
It’s to be hopeful, but not to get your hopes up. It’s not to expect too much. At least, not in this season. It might sound like I’m being negative, but I don’t feel it that way – I don’t FEEL it in a negative way – it just IS one of the things this year has taught me. As soon as I thought one thing might happen … pivot. As soon as I hoped … cancelled. I’ve learned a lot of positive, hopeful, happy things over the past year too. But, it is what it is. It is what it is. I said that a lot now. “It is what it is.”
I don’t even know how to begin reflecting on this past year. If I’m being honest, I’m a little afraid to reflect on it. I’m not sure I’m ready. I’m not sure I want to unpack it. Maybe 2020 is best left packed away. But, then again. Maybe not.
So, what do I know? What has been true for me?
God. Time in the Word has saved me this year. I’ve grown and stretched. God met me each morning and I needed Him each day.
My family. Man, we were all sorts of messy this past year. We are each passionate … with big feelings and moods. When you are stuck in a house together for so long, it becomes so obvious. We are flawed. We are so very human. Each one of us. Yet, we learned how to navigate each other and take breaks and come back together. We learned how to say I’m sorry. We learned how to give each other a lot of grace. How to accept each of our hurts. How to feel our disappointments. How to name them. Feel them. Release them. We learned to care for each other. To show up. To practice breathing exercises. To give each other space. To not allow that space to grow so vast that you can’t figure out how to find your way back. We grew through it. Together.
You do not become strong with a bit of struggle.
Love. Marriage can be hard. Even when the love is there. There are years when I wouldn’t have said that. Years when I didn’t find it to be especially hard. Years when loving each other came really easily and naturally. This past year was a year of stretching in our marriage and in our individual lives. Ryan had traveled a lot for work over the past few years and when that came to a pause, we had to adjust. It was a welcome change, yet it was harder to navigate than we expected. It felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room and there just wasn’t quite enough space. We asked each other, “how do we navigate through this and find each other on the other side?” But, that wasn’t the right question. Instead, we had to reach out and find each other’s hand and walk through it together. This year was a lot of admitting that we were wrong when we were wrong. This year was about grace, prayer and asking, “What do you need? How can I show up better for you?” Lots of trying to figure out what was true and what was good. Our marriage is good and true. But, it’s a real marriage. So, it’s not perfect and it’s not always easy. And, that’s okay.
Friendship. I’ve never missed my friends more, but I’ve also never been more sure and grateful for them. Just knowing that everyone is in it together is life-giving.
Health. I have had my share of ups and downs in the “health” category over the years. But, this year, I am more grateful for good health than ever before.
Memes. Memes are good. Memes saved the day during the darkest parts of 2020.
Other things that saved me this past year: Good books. Design. Creating and dreaming. Neighbors. Affirmations. Long walks. Quiet time. Game nights. Candlelit showers. A warm fire. The porch swing. Online church. Coffee. Our backyard. Cozy blankets. Take-out. Wine. Movie nights. Popcorn.
Day 353. I just picked my kiddos up at school. It feels normal. It’s not. It’s not the same “normal” as the lives we lived prior. Yet, it became normal. The new normal is normal. Truthfully, I have no idea how I feel about that right now.
I know that there’s a lot more to unpack. A lot more to say. A lot more to reflect on. But, I’m not ready. I’m okay with not being ready. Today, my kids went to school. They are happy. I am happy that they are happy. Today that is enough.