Saturday, March 13, 2021

Welcome To One Year Later


[Our first day of spring homeschooling, March 24, 2020.]

One year ago today, I sent my children to their schools one last time before their longer than usual spring breaks would begin. There was this thing called Coronavirus that was now in our state and people were worried. Shelves were bare at the groceries stores, our school officials felt it was best to take an extended spring break because so many people travel during that time. People were acting as though the world was ending. As we now know, it did in a way. 

As I sent my children to school that day, my gut was twisted. Something didn't feel right and I mourned for something I didn't yet know. I didn't know that would be the last time my children stepped foot in the school buildings and our lives would be turned upside down. Like most things at the time, those feelings were quickly forgotten within minutes of my children leaving. I had more important things to prepare for (or so I thought): spring break would be underway in a matter of hours. I had a St. Patrick's Day party to plan, a couple of theme days, and a road trip to pack for. 

It was going to be an amazing spring break! Kids who I hadn't seen since Christmas break would be back at daycare, my house would be loud and chaotic, they would run through the backyard and talk about summer vacation. I have never had a quiet spring break since I've had daycare. Even those I've taken off, we turned into epic, whirlwind road trips (see March 2018, when we road tripped through Florida, right down to Key West, and back). Little did I know that 72 hours later, spring breaks would change for us.

You know the rest of the story: schools shuttered, the world shut down, and slowly reopened months later. We didn't have a normal spring break, we didn't have a normal summer break either, and we haven't had a normal school year. Now, one year later, as a new spring break is underway, my gut is twisted remembering the events that led us here. I'm remember spring breaks of the past. When my house was a revolving door of kids and parents, crazy theme days, slime in the carpet, leave on a road trip with the house still cluttered kind of spring break. 

This year, I have a handful of kids. Not the usual suspects, but some nonetheless. It's weird to think our "four week of flattening the curve," has turned into one year of this unusual life. I don't know if I'll ever get those spring breaks of the past back or if they're gone forever. It's odd, but I'm using this quiet spring break to my advantage. I'm planning for the weeks ahead, I may even be able to get my taxes together, so I can stop avoiding my accountant's calls (I apologize if you're reading this).

There is hope that spring break 2022 will be more normal, but then again, on that March 13, 2020 morning, I surely didn't think this would be the post I'd be writing one year later. Our lives have completely changed, for better and worse. There are things we miss so much that I didn't give a second thought to on that Friday morning one year ago. I didn't know I would miss hugs, or speaking with strangers, being able to see smiling faces, every holiday and family gathering, sitting in a restaurant. The words "social distancing," "flatten the curve," "mask up," "virtual learning," and "car hand sanitizer" meant nothing. March 13, 2020 will forever bring about a million of feelings for me. I will always remember it as the day our  world changed forever, the innocense of my children's childhood altered, as we asked so much of them over the last year. I don't remember what they wore or their hair styles, but hugging them goodbye that morning, one last normal morning, has left an imprint on me that will never be forgotten.