Dear Reader, before you read today’s blog, may I please suggest reading the previous blog so this one makes a bit more sense? In fact, it appears you may have had “double the opportunity” to read my last blog so I hope you’ve taken advantage of that.
In no particular order, here are some things during COVID-19 for which I am grateful and thankful:
- My dog Gracie thinks this is all amazing. I kid you not, she is smiling more than I’ve ever seen her smile. (And yes, dogs do smile!). Daddy is home! Mommy is home! The kids are home! She doesn’t have to stay outside during the day when it is cold and/or rainy. Daddy and my son are much more available to play catch with her! And mommy has way more time to love on her than just a few weeks ago.
- With my daughter’s pre-COVID-19 schedule, we were literally down to her being home just 7 ½ total weeks before she graduated and moved out for good. I think it’s safe to say we will easily double, and perhaps quadruple, that projection. And let’s be real, she’d rather be living in the dorm with her friends. So I’m trying to appreciate each and every time we sit down at the dinner table together as a family. These family dinners are a gift I certainly didn’t expect to have.
- I’m thankful for a purpose and an opportunity to serve. My husband said, “I didn’t think you could work more hours teaching, but now that you are virtual teaching, I think you’re doing it.” Yes, my days are long and they feel difficult. Yet, I’m thankful. I have three classes of students, roughly 70 in all, who count on me. They may not like all the work, but they count on me to keep them going, give them something to do, and remain a somewhat “normal” presence in their lives. Every Thursday is “Call Day.” I call every student in my homeroom and the process takes about 6 hours. I’m not complaining. I’m stuck at home, but I have a purpose, work to do, and the chances of me being bored right now are a big fat zero.
- I’m thankful for what I’ve learned about myself. On Day 10 of the quarantine, I almost had a break-down, not because I couldn’t go anywhere, but because I couldn’t do what I needed to do for my kids! I used to think a good teacher depended on her work-ethic, love, and creativity. That Monday, I felt as if a good teacher depended solely on her Wi-Fi! But it was a good reminder that I am not satisfied with the status quo whether in or out of a pandemic. I like that I still have a drive and don’t want to give up.
- And here’s the thing I am far most grateful for with COVID-19: I’m reminded again that I’m not in control. Ever since the wreck, I have felt very isolated from most people. I can see it in their eyes. I make them uncomfortable. Why do you always say, “Lord willing,” Amy J.? Why can’t you just say, “Next year my daughter will graduate from college and my son will graduate from high school?” Why do you always have to add, “Lord willing?” It’s because some of the hardest lessons I learned from the wreck and paralysis are that I’m not in charge and nothing is a guarantee.
I am not rocked by COVID-19. I am not even scared…cautious, oh-for-sure, probably more than the Average Joe. But I have previous experience with my entire world being rocked. This is not my first rodeo with looking at my carefully-planned-calendar before and realizing nothing was going to be like I’d planned it. I’ve already worked through letting dreams, goals, and hopes fly out the door. Normal is a thing of the past. No prom for my daughter? Yes, I’ve already been through that. No spring season of sports for my kid? We went through six seasons where my daughter didn’t get to participate in high school sports. And things I thought were super, super important suddenly didn’t seem to be too terribly important. And now, maybe, some more folks will understand why I feel the way I feel. Letting go is hard, but I’m living proof one can survive letting go. So I’m thankful again, for shared human connections…perhaps ones that may now run deeper.
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.