I am trying to wrap my head around what 2020 has brought us thus far. I remember the day, March 13th, 2020, very vividly, when I picked my child up from school, for what would be the last time. She was sent home with her iPad, “just in case” they may need to do some short-term virtual learning. No one knew what was to come.
I am sure my experience is not unique. It’s a memory that will be engraved in my mind, forever. It’s the day that everything in my world completely shifted. It’s a day that sits in my memory as deeply as the day I gave birth to my three children. I remember every detail.
What I didn’t know, was that the short-term shutdown would last for much longer than we anticipated. What I didn’t know, was that my child wouldn’t step foot back into that classroom as a Kindergartner. What I didn’t know was that everything in my life, and everyone’s life, would be completely shaken to the core.
While I have had many moments of focusing on what we have lost during these past 6 months of the Pandemic, I am currently choosing to focus on what we have gained; the Silver Lining. Here are some of my positives from the past 6 months.
These past 6 months have given me even more permission to say no to things that I don’t really want to do. It’s given myself and my family more time together, which to me, was starting to feel like we were never together without rushing to an activity, to bed, to school, to birthday parties, etc. The lack of places to be has given us more time to just BE, and more time to sit an enjoy each other’s company. I have even been able to notice things in my children that I had missed before.
Working from Home
While I have been lucky enough to work from home for the last 7 years, more people have started to work from home. Video conferences have become the go-to for meetings now. Many professionals are now completely empathic with someone when their child screams in the middle of a business meeting or runs into the frame of the camera, for all the participants to see. While this used to look “unprofessional”, it’s now completely understandable and accepted.
More Convenient Shopping
Most stores are now offering curbside pickup, or even drive-thru. Some are even offering delivery, and while I was on this train before the pandemic hit, part of me felt guilty or lazy for using these services. Now, it’s quite accepted and actually encouraged. With 3 young children, if I don’t have to haul them into the store or risk spending more money at Target than I anticipated, then I will surely be happy to accept the convenience. It cuts down on public meltdowns, as well. Win-win.
Weeding Out the “Friends”
While there has been a lot of judgment in the past 6 months, which I talk about in my last article, what I have appreciated from this, is the weeding out of people in my life who I thought were my friends. I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to unlearn all the beliefs I had picked up growing up. The beliefs that hindered me from being free to be myself. I have gained and lost many friends throughout the years, but this year was the hardest. I thought I had some stronger friends than I had, and it turned out, they were most likely quietly judging me all along. (Some probably still are!) Many hot topics revealed who was supportive of me and who was not. It wasn’t about who agreed with me, but rather who was willing to stand by me, because they knew my intentions were coming from the right place. I have long desired for “my tribe”, and these past 6 months have revealed more people I can truly trust, and be myself with, than ever before.
More Opportunities to Heal
There have been many opportunities presented to me these past 6 months that have shown me where I still need to do some work to heal past wounds and trauma. I am thankful for these opportunities to grow and heal some more. This is a constant in my life, but these past several months have been intense.
Perhaps this may be the best of all, but I am still in the midst of this so the jury is still out on this one. What school looks like for many children is not at all what it once was, and while we can’t yet say if this is a good or bad thing, I know that the transition of how school looks, will probably lead to something better. Schools were overcrowded and underfunded, so how can we take this as an opportunity to create a better, more flexible learning environment? I, personally, chose to homeschool my 1st grader this year. I do not know if she will go back to regular school, because we are so new to this still, but what I do know, is that I am thankful that I get a choice in this. I am thankful that I am able to homeschool her and teach her what I have long been wanting to “have the time” to teach her. Now I have the opportunity and the time to spend with her and her siblings learning in an environment that I choose and can be flexible with our family’s needs and desires. I hope school continues to evolve and becomes more of a “choice offering” for families, rather than a “one-way fits all” approach.
These are just a few examples of how I have found the silver lining in the chaos. I hope you can find a few, too, because most likely, there are many- even if you aren’t seeing them.
It is through the most traumatic and painful experiences that I have learned the most. I expect nothing short of that through all of this.