The Gift from Covid
I just tucked my oldest into bed. He is 12 entering the 6th grade tomorrow. Although this years beginning of school is out of the ordinary, our school is distance learning for the next few weeks, it still makes me emotional thinking of the start of another school year. Another first is coming and going. Another milestone in his life is approaching and with it with follow new seasons of his life. A new school. New friends. A new view of the world. A new view of me and my place in his new found independence and need for freedom. I write this not because I am sad about the start of a new school year. It makes me pause and reminisce but that isn’t the cause of what brings the feeling of sadness. The heavy comes from reflecting on our lives over the last five months. I have seen blogs by moms about the effects of Covid in their homes, social lives, heck even the new found acceptance that noon is just the right time for that cocktail. But what I haven’t seen yet is the realization that these little people who had their worlds shook are about to shake ours when they head back out to campus. Last summer I remember the week before school was starting and I was ready! I was ready for my kids to be with friends and socialize. I was ready to get back to work and a schedule that was predictable. I was sad at the thought of missing them all day but the idea of normal sounded so great. This year I feel very different. Our world looks wildly different. The outside world yes but I’m referencing the world we have built for our family. We have changed schools for both of our children. My oldest chose to attend a different school after attending a private Christian school since kinder. I chose to homeschool my youngest who is in third until I am sure school won’t be canceled suddenly again. That on top of being business owners and juggling so many balls in the air through this shut down has created for us a more tight knit family. A family that has worked together every day for the last 5 months. When I think of tomorrow’s first class and that it is on Zoom I just get mad. I get mad that my son, who chose to go to a larger school to make friends who live nearby, isn’t getting to do that tomorrow. I’m mad that his excitement is gone. I’m mad that the first big choice he got to make on his own about his life is overshadowed by a stupid virus and the limitations placed on us. I’m mad that my daughter will miss her friends. That when they look back at their childhood this year is going to feel more like 10. But, I have to add something else..... for the first time in a long time I can say I am not eager to get them out of the house and back to normal. Because normal hasn’t existed in a long time. Normal vanished for us overnight in March. Suddenly there was no school, no play dates, no sports, no vacations, no birthday parties, no business dinners. No place we needed to rush to. It was just suddenly, still. And it remained still. Other than work there was no schedule. You know what I got from that stillness? An instant restart as a mom. I got kids who learned to be content at home. No trampoline park or museum visits... they were not an option. The only option was together. And it seems like when together was the only option we just took a breath. I see those little humans differently now. They are stronger and more brave. They know how to ask questions and have learned to listen with logic and not fear. They have learned to accept others choices and be firm in their own. They have been introduced to civil uprising and ideas of hate in the midst of a pandemic. All the while they remain gentle, kind and open. My son was told by a friend on one of his computer games about the riots. When he asked me about it I was thankful for the few months we had spent so close to each other because I was able to explain and discuss it in a way I don’t think I could have if the situation leading up been different. I know my kids so much better now. I think they know me a lot more now too. Covid has been a thief. In many ways. But, when I reflect now on the way life has slowed down and given me the chance to be still and just be with them I can see the gift in it all. What could have broken us is making us stronger. For the first time in a very long time I am not thinking about all I am going to get done when they go back to school. I find myself sitting still. Not eager to join the race. Just eager to be their mom. I am eager to see how we can keep this sense of normal. Where just being together is enough. Anything more than that is just.... noise.