By: Heather O’Neill
I am Grateful.
Throughout this time that Covid has touched our lives, I haven’t been writing. I just can’t seem to find the word to describe how I have been feeling.
The world shut down. Schools, workplaces, sports, activities, everything. To say it has been hard for all of us is an understatement.
In March, my father-in-law was hospitalized due to complications with cancer. We were thrust into experiencing first hand what the new restrictions due to Covid had on those whose loved ones were hospitalized. When he was sent home with hospice in April, due to all of the restrictions, we were all home. We were able to surround him with the love he deserved and needed through his time of transition. There were no baseball games to get to, no work commitments to shift, no homework that had to be done. Just lots of love, tears, stories, music and peace. For this, I am grateful.
Pre-Covid, it was rare that my family of four ate dinner together on the weeknights. Mostly due to our work schedules and extra-curricular activities. Since March we have been able to eat dinner together as a family almost every night. We have played cards, board games and even had a few family video game nights. The fact that my 10 and 12-year-olds want to still hang out and play games with us warms my heart. For this, I am grateful.
The Coronavirus has not been kind to our elderly friends and family that reside in nursing homes. Stealing away precious visits, hugs and final moments. We lost a loved one in June and because hotels were not accepting any guests, his out-of-state family came to stay with us. There were memories shared and created. Bonds were formed between our children that will last a lifetime. There was more love, support and sentiment shared between our families than I could have imagined. For this, I am grateful.
Education this Fall has been trying to say the least. Schools have diverse and hectic schedules. Students feel anxious, scared, distressed. When they are in school learning they are masked and can’t physically connect with their friends and teachers. When they are home they are dreading using video conferencing software wondering if their internet connection is stable enough to get through a call or frustrated with the work a teacher may assign. But, they are coping. They are finding new ways to advocate for themselves. They are learning technology we never dreamed they would – they are typing, saving docs, sharing docs, downloading, uploading, taking pictures, creating videos. They are using skills and creativity we as parents and educators didn’t know they had. Parents and educators are also learning new things. We’re creating personalized virtual classrooms for students, becoming more comfortable recording ourselves on video, learning how to better provide information for students in clear, concise and sufficient ways. We are all growing. For this, I am grateful.
I’ve learned that I need to slow down. I’ve learned that I need to cherish the time I have with family and friends. I’ve learned that there is always time for a game with my boys. I’ve learned that I am terrible at Wii Frisbee Golf. I’ve learned that I can keep learning about myself as a mother, wife, friend and educator. For this, I am grateful.