The Second Pandemic Birthday

When my kids were young, I used to plan elaborate themed birthday parties. They really couldn’t appreciate the work that I put in, but they always enjoyed having friends over and lots of food. As they got older, they opted to substitute a party for a trip to a hotel with an indoor waterpark. And that was the case last year – in March of 2020 – when Quentin was turning 8 years old.

A mere few days before his birthday, everything shut down due to the pandemic.

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One Year of Pandemic Later

It has been a year since had any type of “normal.” On March 13, 2020 we pre-emptively kept our kids home from school. We saw the writing on the wall that schools would likely be closing due to COVID-19, and we were right. Later that same day, our governor announced the closure of schools, limits on capacity in businesses, and other measures to curb the spread. The day before, we had gone shopping, thinking that we might be in “lockdown” for several weeks.

How wrong we were.

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Back to the Classroom

Just shy of one year since my kids have last seen the inside of a classroom, my kids will be returning to school next week.

Remote learning has been a struggle. From the early days of trying to establish a routine to changing techniques to keep my kids engaged, it has often felt like a losing battle. I kept telling myself that it won’t be forever, but I have also spent more time crying on the phone to the teachers (and principal) than all prior years of elementary school combined. The longer the year dragged on, the more it felt like a toll on our mental health.

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A Bit of Relief

After I wrote last week about how much we are struggling right now, my mom emailed and offered to come and stay with us.

We have followed every single guideline around social distancing, travel, and being around people not outside the household. We haven’t seen family in person since Christmas of 2019. But my mom has received both doses of her Covid vaccine and is incredibly careful.

My response was “How quickly can you get here?”

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The Person I Can No Longer Be

We are now 11 months into this pandemic’s direct impact on our daily life. I told my 11-year-old the other day that we are “living history” right now. Some day, entire textbooks and documentaries will be produced about the year 2020 and beyond. I compared it to how World Wars I and II stretched on for years, with no particular end in sight at the time.

As if “living history” is supposed to be some sort of consolation for the havoc this pandemic has wreaked on our lives.

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