Just as quickly as one set of tiny lungs can disperse hundreds of dandelion seeds into the air, COVID—in what seemed like an instant—began its mission to steal time away from people throughout the world.
I’ll never forget the moment it all began. For many of us, the news of our uncertain future was delivered to teachers, students, and parents on a school day in March. For my school, the news was revealed on our favorite day of the year - Field Day, the day before spring break.
The morning began with an impromptu virtual Zoom training for both students and teachers. Shortly after the training, Field Day commenced. But the whisperings among the teachers throughout the day continued, as much of the talk included the fact that we would not return to school after spring break...and maybe not for the remainder of the school year.
"This can't happen," I told my colleagues. "How will I teach all day and help my own three boys with their own virtual learning at home?"
But suddenly, I realized that I had no say in the matter. At the end of the day, reality set in as students were told to clean out lockers and pack up backpacks. And teachers were told to take home what they needed.
Like a defeated child, I wiped away my tears, took a deep breath, and packed up my materials, too.
And it was on that day—in that moment—that the floating began...just like the dandelion seed, which by some sort of spinning vortex stays afloat like a tiny parachute.
Don’t you remember when this new "routine" began? When the days began to merge together?
First, make everyone breakfast. Next, teach your kids. Then, work. Teach your kids some more, work, make lunch for everyone, teach your kids, work.
Once a week, you would go to the grocery store and spend an hour wiping down groceries upon your return home. And at the end of each day, if you were blessed enough to have a virtual happy hour, you might check in with friends and family.
Time passed us by. And while the days seemed to exit quickly, due to the stress we all faced on a daily basis, they usually passed by with no sense of urgency and with no plan of a brighter tomorrow.
If we were lucky enough to have a job, after several weeks of the pandemic, our job descriptions changed and our work environments changed as well. It wasn’t just about wearing a mask. It was more than that. And so many of us were willing to do whatever it took to get back to work.
So when it was time to return to the classroom, we - as teachers - wiped the dirt off our knees, and we got back in the ballgame. I, for one, was thrilled to do so. Some sort of normalcy needed to return for our students...and frankly, it needed to return for us, as well.
And while I teach in THE most supportive environment and have the best boss I have ever had in my teaching career, a teacher’s current job description in the midst of this pandemic is beyond exhausting and indescribable.
Still, we feel blessed to be back in the classroom, even if the days of hybrid teaching have their challenges. We are ready to take on each new day. And we give 150% to our students because that’s what we do.
But I will tell you that not a day goes by when we, as teachers, do not search for a place to land - a place of peace that will provide the nutrients of normalcy that students and teachers once thrived upon.
It’s not just a stressful time for teachers; I know that. There is so much going on in everyone’s lives. No matter what your days look like - with a job or without a job...single...or married...with children...or without children - we all continue to float through our days, looking for a place to land.
Friends and family become sick. And you worry. Time does not wait...and so you float.
A friend or family member passes away. And the unbearable pain of not being able to gather with family to say goodbye rips your heart into two. And while an online memorial service is nice; it’s not the same. And all you really wish is that you could give COVID The middle finger and just gather together to give everyone a great big, comforting hug.
But that can’t happen right now.
And so the windy conditions pick up...and that dandelion seed, which often lands just a couple of meters from the parent plant—but sometimes travels up to 0.6 miles before landing—keeps traveling for miles...because of course it can, because...well...anything can happen in 2020.
So you float...and you float.
And then there are the incredibly lonely days when you realize that you haven’t seen your friends in months...nor have you found the time to talk to them because their schedule is just as crazy as yours.
And so the wind takes you further away from your final resting place.
And then your own loneliness makes you worry about your loved ones who truly are alone - those who have little family surrounding them day in and day out. And you wish you could be with them by their side, hugging them tightly...reminding them that they are NOT alone.
And so you float higher and higher, and further and further away from your final landing place, yet again....and time passes.
And then your own children tell you that they are lonely, too, and that they miss getting together with friends. And that breaks your heart.
And higher and higher we go...
And time is stripped away from us…
Because we haven’t hugged our parents in months…
Or have barely seen them at all...
And the music and our friends who breathed life into us are far away....so far out of reach…
And we worry about family and friends who are sick...both physically and mentally...
And maybe we become sick ourselves...
And the winds continue to blow.
And the strength of the vortex grows stronger. And now we’re just mad at COVID, and we curse it, SCREAMING, "Stop trying to steal our happiness!"
We are lonely. We are heartbroken. We are mad. We are lost…
And then on those days...those really bad days...we just have to stop. And listen. We have to listen to that voice in our head and the beat of our heart, and we need to tell COVID that it hasn’t won. We know it hasn't.
Because nothing lasts forever, and COVID will not last forever.
The winds will die down. And that seed that seemed lost - the one that could never find its place on the ground - will finally find its resting spot.
And just like that, the dandelion seed will settle into the soil and establish itself. The roots will grow deep. And even when the plant seems to fade away, it will come back each spring to produce even more flowers and seeds. And what's even cooler? The older a dandelion is, the longer its root becomes, and the harder it is to remove.
So know this...one day, maybe in a month...maybe in a year...the currents will shift, and just like the dandelion, life will return. The floating will no longer be our adventure. We will grow and rise stronger, and we will be more deeply rooted as a result of COVID.
We will love more deeply and embrace each other more often. We will take better care of each other and lift each other up. We will not take a single moment with our loved ones and our friends for granted. And we will no longer be dreaming of the next time we can touch because we will be back together, holding on tightly to those whom we love. And together, we will remember those we have lost. And nothing - no pandemic...no barrier...no mask - will ever keep us apart. Because after all, in the end - love ALWAYS wins!
Chrissie's article was first posted on her blog: soundoflittlefeet.blogspot.com