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Challenge: Reflecting on a Year of Pandemic Parenting

A Man Rode Through Town on a Horse to Let Us All Know - It’ll B OK

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May be an image of standing, horse and outdoors

We are coming up on one year of all of us being home.

I know this is nothing new for you to hear. I'm sure you are very aware of this fact. Because all of our lives have been impacted. All of our lives have changed.

Some more than others.

For some, the past months have brought illness, devastating loss and immense grief. For others, addictions have reared their ugly heads. Some have lost jobs. People have returned home for work and school. Some have thrived. Others have fallen into depression and anxiety. Relationships have been strained. Loneliness and isolation have been felt.

As the vaccine is being more widely distributed, there is hope, but there is still a feeling of uncertainty.

Will we ever go back to normal? Do we want to go back to normal?
What have we learned? What do we want to keep with us as we move forward?
What will our lives look like in the next months? Years?

We have been living in a strange limbo. The space between what was, and what will be. We aren’t sure if this is forever. Or just for now.

And sometimes we go about our day with no thought to this, and other times it is very evident. We feel it. Deep within. The feeling of loss and the hope for tomorrow. We long to be present. But sometimes the present feels strange.

We have learned that life can change in the blink of an eye. We knew that on a personal level, but now we feel it on a collective level.

We have learned to come together. To lean on our neighbor. To find comfort in our homes. To build those relationships within our walls.

And also the value of simple things we so easily took for granted. Like date nights, hugs, visiting with our loved ones in nursing homes, sending our kids to school, toilet paper, listening to our kids laugh upstairs instead of sleeping during a sleepover, and coming and going from here to there without a thought of who we are seeing and how we will be seeing them.

We are learning so much during this time. Sometimes those lessons are painful. Sometimes they bring us on our knees. Sometimes they come with tears. So. Many. Tears.

And other times they show us the beauty that has always been there. The beauty we somehow missed in all of our rushing to and from, and here and there, and back again.

I have felt this limbo lately. With the kids at home now, and with the decision to send them back to school in the fall. I am aware we will be returning to some kind of normal, but that it may not be the normal that once was.

Sometimes I feel sadness for what we’ve missed. Sometimes I question our decisions and pray to God that the implications will be positive in the long run, and not negative. Sometimes I worry if this time at home has taken too much from the kids.

And sometimes I feel so relaxed and such peace and such joy. Sometimes I feel like what we’ve learned in this time and this space holds incredible value.

It’s such a mixture. It’s both.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Can you relate to these feelings?

March 5, 2020, was the last time I went to work in the preschool. It was the last time my children stepped foot in school. It was just days before my husband would be leaving his office for the last time.

It was the first day of our new normal that I never imagined would be. Our new normal that still is.

Our new normal that comes with joy and grief and peace and uncertainty.

We are coming up on almost one year of all of us being home. Sometime in those first weeks, after everything shut down, a man rode through our small Tennessee town on a horse, with an American flag, and a shirt with a handwritten message, “It’ll B Ok”.

I think of that man and that shirt sometimes. I think of his simple way of giving us all hope during a time of uncertainty.

It’ll B Ok.

And that’s what I pray I can cling to. On those days when the uncertainty and the struggle feel bigger than others.

It’ll B Ok.

We may not know what the future holds. We may not know when normal will return, or what normal will even be. Or if this is our normal.

We don’t know. But God does. He has gone before us. He is with us in our todays and our tomorrows.

It’ll B Ok.

And when I think of how nervous and anxious and scared I was in the first days and weeks after the pandemic arrived and the world shut down, I wish I could whisper softly to myself -

It’ll B Ok.

When I start to get anxious about what the future holds, I have to remind myself of those words. There is goodness in this struggle. Life may not be like what we were used to, and it definitely has been a year we never expected, but we are getting through it.

And I have to believe, no matter what the future holds, It’ll B Ok.

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