It was a typical week night. After working a long day and running my boys to activities, we were finally at one of my favorite parts of the day — bedtime.
I was tucking my third grader into bed and I asked our nightly question, “What is your high, low, buffalo?” It’s a tradition in our home. I ask each of my kids what was the high of the day, the low, and the buffalo is just something extra that they can share.
During the typical storytelling my son paused and said, “Don’t you wish we could just go back to the old ways, before Corona, Mom? Things were so much easier.”
My first thought was, yes, yes, yes… can we pretend the last year and a half never happened? But then, I thought, no.
And I reflected on why I wouldn’t choose to go back, what this experience has taught me, and how it has changed me as a person.
Lessons from a Pandemic
This pandemic has taught me I can persevere and handle things I never thought were possible. In a world turned suddenly upside down, I figured out how to work full-time, keep my family healthy, be a full-time educator, and continue moving forward.
Was it easy?
Were there days when I was desperate to give up?
However, what I realized is that there is really so much we are capable of (mastery not required).
Honestly, I still have days that are really hard. And I probably cry at least once a week at what the world has turned into. But I now understand, more than ever, the power that I have. The power to create peace in my own home, even as the world rages outside.
The Importance of Education
After I (not so willingly) took a dive into supporting my children’s Spring 2020 school year, I become more passionate about education in our community.
Previously, my involvement had been limited since I sent my eldest to school. But my forced participation as an active educator prompted me to get more active regarding my children’s long-term educational goals.
Through increased involvement I was able to identify things that I love about my children’s schools, and things I believe need to change. I joined parent groups, attended school board meetings, and emailed my son’s schools teachers, administrators, and community leadership to actively support better education in our community.
Some might call it a new hobby, I call it an unturned avenue of community engagement I never thought I could become so passionate about.
How to Slow Down
COVID taught me to take a step back, to slow down, and I don’t ever want to go back to the way I lived before.
To be frank, I have been getting over my fear of missing out.
I used to feel so guilty not attending events and meetups before COVID. Especially when I stayed home full-time — I just wanted to get out of the house!
Now, I find myself making more decisions based on what I value for myself rather than thinking about what others think. And if it doesn’t feel good for my soul, it’s a hard pass.
I have also discovered a love of home hobbies and projects that I never took the time to explore before the pandemic.
The Importance of Community
COVID has gotten me even more committed to my community and making it better. I have learned to self-advocate and also to advocate for my family and others.
And I have poured more of my time and effort into smaller gestures, rather than large projects and movements. For example, I sent a box of snacks to each of my son’s teachers this year as a way to support hungry tummies in the classroom.
I am volunteering at church for the first time since high school. Because I believe our church can be a safe place of peace and comfort for those struggling, and I want to help be a part of that.
It hasn’t been easy.
Living through a pandemic drains me, it brings up a ton of negative emotions, and many times has sucked all inspiration out of my soul, but it hasn’t stopped me.
I hope that some of the things I described resonated with you. And maybe this inspired or reminded you of things you have done or created to make your home or community a bit brighter during this time.