Pre-COVID, we ran a fast pace. Our oldest was in at least three sports simultaneously, choir, and a variety of clubs at school. Her homeschooled brother had his own daily clubs and outside classes. My husband worked full-time. I went from a full-time worker with part-time jobs to full-time homeschool teacher-writer-coach-Girl Scout leader.
Downtime wasn’t a thing we found incredibly relevant. Life was a balancing act between kids and squeezing in time with family and friends. The effort to pretend to be rested and social was not a high priority.
Interestingly enough, when COVID-19 was just starting, a friend of a local yoga studio posted an astrology reading. She surmised we would get through this but our Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 would look markedly different than today. Being that it is astrology, I took note of her words and put it aside with a “let’s see what happens.”
Summer has begun to conclude with talks of school days coming. This is the usual wind down we have at this time of year… yet it is unfamiliar and strangely calm.
We took the path less traveled on and that has made all the difference.
I am a five-year-plan-over-researcher-type. So unsurprisingly, when Covid-19 happened, I looked up almost any study I could find, both in the states and overseas. I watched what other countries were doing and poured over the results. From there, I made unpopular decisions not seen frequently in my town.
We stopped going out almost completely and became fans of Instacart. Our “hangouts” have been non-existent, save seeing my father-in-law and parents in a social-distanced setting. We are members of a local swim club but only have gone basically to tennis lessons and a swim clinic. The tennis coach was careful about keeping the kids apart. I sat on the lower court away from others. The swim clinics focused on keeping protocols with ratios and distancing, with kids sometimes separated by hoola hoops.
Then we started new hobbies. We planted a garden and for the first time ever, didn’t kill it within a month. When my parents or father-in-law come over, we sit outside despite the heat and without the stress of “where to be.” When we hear from friends, it actually feels like a gift and not a meeting. Letter writing resumed, as did small surprise gifts.
This summer we visited a family spot we have on the lake. For the first time in my adult vacationing life, I just chilled. We kayaked in the lake and got into water fights. We enjoyed the feel of a shower without the rush of dinner plans. We cooked homemade meals and sat together to eat. Games were played multiple times a day and we watched movies together and napped. I can guarantee without COVID-19 slowing us down, this would have never happened.
And because I had already made so many changes to our life, we never felt like we were missing out.
But now, school is starting.
Because of many factors, our daughter chose the online option for public school. My son is already homeschooled. We are actually all looking forward to this.
The school’s schedule for my daughter looks amazing – block classes like college with time to study in the afternoon. We found small groups for her to meet with and are currently setting up outdoor classroom options. Perhaps because we already gave up trying to figure out how to replace what is different, we are not focused on the losses. Instead, we are unearthing ways to relish in this unexpected, not-on-my-five-year-plan moment.
Today, I am not magically this relaxed person. Some anxiety is always going to be a part of my disposition… but what I can say is where I am today is a much different place than six months ago.
If my ex-yoga-teacher’s astrology is correct, I cannot even imagine where we will be in three months or ten months. But if our home continues in the direction we are now, I venture to say we will discover a new level of depth to the memories we are about to make.