The pandemic brought complicated and personal struggles. Some lost work. Others were without housing or food. Some even lost family and friends. Some dealt with mental and physical challenges, and what seemed like an insurmountable overload of responsibilities with virtual school and work, just trying to stay emotionally and physically healthy. My family is grateful to have made it, and to be here today.
We often discuss how over 500,000 fellow Americans lost their lives to COVID. Children, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and friends. Gone, never to return. Frustrations and irritation over minor inconveniences quickly give way to gratitude when we remember.
March of last year brought virtual school and work. It also began our stay-at-home journey with masks and social distancing.
We prayed for the sick and medical professionals caring for the sick. We remembered those without employment, a home, or even food. We practiced mindful gratitude for our ability to do work and school from home. We found activities to entertain ourselves in ways we would have previously called boring and mundane.
It’s funny how expectations change as times change.
We became creative with virtual school and work schedules. When the big feelings came, we acknowledged them. We took time to fully process them, no matter how inconvenient. Once we felt them deeply, we released them, dusted ourselves off, and set back to the business of the day. Every feeling has to be dealt with; if ignored, it will reappear until handled.
I found myself back in therapy. It worked. I talk with my therapist late at night while everyone else sleeps. As tired as I am before the session and as tired as I am after, it’s worth every second. Therapy has transformed me into a confident, outspoken, strong, and more able person and mom. The old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is spot on. Took that one to heart this year. Thanks, COVID.
My kids began virtual social classes and play dates. We sat in my mom and dad’s garage, six feet apart, masks on, socializing, desperate for normality. We began picking up takeout and ordering no contact groceries. We became masters of hand sanitizer and masks. We planned epic virtual movie nights with relatives far away. The kids entertained themselves in the backyard, playing for hours in a wading pool on warm days. And while it wasn’t perfect, it worked. Sometimes you just have to make it work.
Despite having zero free time, I began making time to work on my children’s book manuscripts. I even managed to make new friends in similar walks of life this year. They’re lifelong connections; people who have helped me through indescribably tough moments.
It became crystal clear actions and attitude would determine whether my kids and I made it through the pandemic. Quitting is never an option when it comes to my children, so I mustered the courage and daily dogged determination to get through. There were days we were champions, coming out on top. Other days, in dead last place, barely making it. But we always pulled through to face another day.
We are nearing the end of this marathon and while we aren’t in first place, we aren’t bringing up the rear. We have successfully navigated and made it. Here and standing. Goal accomplished!
Today, I’m a better writer. I’ve edited my manuscripts and written some new ones. I’m confident, even cool under the pressure cooker of virtual school and work. If someone has a meltdown and has to step away, we do it and don’t apologize. Those big feelings will keep knocking until you answer. I’m also no longer apologizing for the opportunities (virtual work and school) afforded to me. I’ll be forever grateful and considerate of those who do not have similar opportunities but never apologize.
Opportunities are meant to be taken advantage of to their full potential for the betterment of you and yours, not to be sorry or feel guilt. It’s taken me a lifetime to figure that out. Lesson learned.
I’m a better friend, a more thoughtful daughter. I’m a mom who embraces the ups and downs of motherhood. A mom who gets mad, raises her voice sometimes, but just as quickly, apologizes, and explains that those big feelings got the best of me. I promise to do better and I do it. I’m a tougher and more resilient woman. I’ll even venture to say, a better employee. I don’t let the small stuff cause big stress anymore. It is what it is; it’s going to be what it’s going to be. Upward and onward. My blood pressure rising or a panic attack just isn’t worth it.
I believe in, and make intentions. And follow through. I intend to be a published children’s book author. I intend to be the best mom, even with the big feelings. I intend to continue working hard to make myself the woman I know can be, while accepting, loving, and showing grace to the woman I am today. And I intend to teach my children to do the same.
The world is tough enough; we need not be tough on each other or ourselves.
My nightly routine includes mindful gratitude, relaxing music, and a sage smudging/blessing to release the negative of the day, releasing all that weighs me down, and welcoming that which lifts me up. During one of my sage smudging/blessings, the words “good things are afoot,” made their way into my mind. This resonated with my mind and heart and hasn’t left since. Good things are happening and I’m more optimistic every day. I hope you are too.
And just as quickly as the pandemic came, it will surely go. But the things I’ve learned throughout will remain.
Indeed, good things are afoot. Believe it. Know it. Intend it. And go make it be.