It’s hard to reflect on this past year for a lot of reasons. In many ways the shut down was just what the doctor ordered for us. It gave us time with our family to slow down and really appreciate each other and our gifts. We cooked meals together, tried new foods, the kids learned to appreciate that cooking is hard work and takes a lot of time (which I loved, though I fear they have since forgotten this).
We played board games, we crafted, went on worm hunts, fished, swam both in a pool and in our pond (I’m not over it). We took several trips to the lake. We roasted marshmallows by the fire and read books and had time to talk about silly things and also things that matter.
We rode bikes, almost every day. We played sports all day, everyday! We competed and learned lessons about winning and losing, we laughed…a lot. Things slowed down.
We weren’t eating meals in the car between events or crying at the kitchen counter doing our math homework because we were in school all day then had practice then came home and had to shower and now…exhausted, we are sitting at a table trying to do our homework. All of that went away. In many ways, it was glorious.
But…it’s fair to say that in many ways in was also inglorious. For the majority of the pandemic Bryan was unsure of his job stability. Deere was making major cuts and we waited 7 months with bated breath to find out whether or not his job would be one of them. In fairness, I know this was much harder on him than it was on me. As the “bread winner” in our house he has the responsibility for so much and so many. While I did worry about it, I also felt strongly that he was too valuable as an employee to lose his job. I’m beyond grateful I was proven right. Nevertheless, that stress and worry were very real for us.
With no school and a lot of down time there came the new stress of becoming our kids’ teachers, while living under the same roof 24 hours a day and trying to maintain our own jobs. That was a challenge I could never have prepared myself for…remember the day I was teaching my class about the 1920s and Fletcher came into my “office” aka the bedroom floor (since Bryan was also working from home) to ask me for help with wiping his butt. Everyone got an education that day!
Moments like that one made us laugh but there were many in between that made us cry. The frustration we all felt when tackling a challenging subject matter we didn’t quite understand or the feeling of being overwhelmed that we, their parents, were failing our kids in their educational pursuits during the pandemic was a lot to manage.
Then there was the fear, the real and actual fear of the pandemic itself. I know for me, at first, this fear was very real as we live with a very high risk human, our Gaga.
Amidst the fear there was also the division. The division over politics and the election and all of the things that were going down with race relations, immigration and of course, the ever looming pandemic and the forever feeling of “what would happen next?”
The uncertainty was crippling at times. Would we go back to school? If we do, what does that look like? Would we travel again? When? Would I get corona virus? Would it make me sick? Will I know someone who gets it and dies?
We now know the answer to a lot of these questions and they aren’t all good.
Some students are just now going back to school for the first time in over a year. I remain forever grateful that our kids, as well as my students, have been in school this entire year. What a blessing that has been!
The fear I personally had about Gaga getting this virus, which, ultimately she did get, was incredibly real and kept me up at night. I didn’t want to do anything that would put her at risk and every decision we made (especially early on) was steeped in that concern. In the beginning months I was the only person to leave our house, for months, and that was only to go to the store.
When August hit I had the reality that St. James and Sacred Heart were going to school, in person. While I was excited about that reality, going back to school in person still made me incredibly nervous.
Let’s not forget to mention sports. The mess that became sports during a pandemic was almost too much. Kids playing in masks, no fans…literally approaching every single practice and game like it could be the last time we got to play this season. It was wacky.
Sports are among my favorite things. Sadly, this pandemic changed them, in many ways, not for the better. While I did hope a break from being able to play organized sports would give people a deeper appreciation for them and consequently cause people to behave better in general where sports are involved…I fear the opposite became true.
The initial joy we had at being home and having things slow down never wore off for me. Life was simpler then. We were safe in our bubble and it felt nice. It wasn’t perfect, but nothing in life is.
When I returned to work and life I was happy to be back. When we found out Bryan did in fact have a job, I was thrilled and relieved. The up and down of this pandemic year and mainly, the uncertainty of it, was by far the biggest challenge….at least for me.
When my mom got Covid we experienced some of the most stressful weeks of our lives. She has some health conditions that make Covid a scary proposition to even think about let alone deal with. She didn’t get out of her bed for weeks. She could barely stand. I was up most nights hoping she was breathing. I’d go down to check on her 5-6 times a night. It was a stressful time, no question. We remain incredibly grateful that she is ok, another beautiful blessing to celebrate.
However, it has to be said…Covid sucks. There is no way around it. It’s plain. It’s simple. It sucks.
Now, a year later I have my vaccine; another issue that is causing division and I know many are debating. For me, it was an easy choice.
I pray to GOD that one day we can look back at all of this and see goodness, see purpose. I pray that soon we are walking around and seeing each others faces and giving and receiving hugs and that we aren’t letting this illness control our lives.
So this year has been 365+ days of cataloging our history and what we were doing when the pandemic struck. It’s been fun for me. It’s been therapeutic. I know that in a year I will enjoy going back and reading about all the things we did and tried and experienced during this time. I also know I will find a lot more good, than I will bad.
I hope that in 20 years when our kids have kids that this will be a great piece of their history and their childhood to share with their own kids and they will know how much we love them.
Thanks for coming along this journey with me. I’m not sure what the year anniversary means for my blog. I’m not sure what it means for me. As we all know, the pandemic isn’t over. We aren’t done. I’m not going anywhere, I’ll be around. To those of you that texted, called or reached out in any way throughout this process about my posts, thank you. I’m glad that anything I wrote had an impact on you or made you laugh. I really did start writing them for myself and my family, but I am glad I got to share with anyone that they brought joy to!
I won’t say until next time, because I’m really hoping there is never another global pandemic…but I will see you around my friends!