Life,  Motherhood

Life Lately…

Its been awhile since I have been able to sit in front of my laptop, and just catch up on life. Right now seems like the best time for me to just spill my guts and get out how I feel about school starting, summer ending, and our family.

My oldest is about to embark on kindergarten in a week, and the emotions here surrounding school starting are big. But maybe not from the person you would think- its me. I have often shared here (my internet safe place) what our journey to having Julia was like, how precious her life is. I gave up my career and became a stay at home mom in the blink of an eye. Since then my sole focus and goal in life is to raise my daughters to be kind, assertive, and gentle girls. But how does that play out in a world where her sweet smile is masked? When the main cues to developing a relationship are masked? When school feels like a panic attack waiting to happen? Now factor in a global pandemic, that seems to just never want to end. How can I send my daughter into the world knowing that her first traditional school experience is going to be so wildly different than what we (my husband and I) experienced as children? The world is so different now, it feels broken in so many ways.

You may think I am being dramatic, but when I have gone above and beyond to make sure that we are safe as our family unit, how can I send her off when I don’t feel comfortable about a highly transmissible variant? When all you see covered in the news is just pure contradictory let alone negative. The benefit to having been apart of a generation that didn’t always have Facebook to get news from or a cell phone always in your pocket was the ability to get your news sparingly. I can remember watching the news with my family and my parents getting a newspaper in the morning- thats how we were up to date on what was pressing in the world. But now? Its like digital diarrhea- it’s everywhere, and so are the reactions the people have to the news. Social media has become a drain to me emotionally. I no longer want to keep up with long distance family and friends, instead my feed is inundated with vaccine banter/shaming, election madness, covid numbers, and conflicting CDC reporting. It’s depressing to constantly be consumed with negativity, even if it’s not intentional.

If the pandemic has taught me anything it’s that it is okay to say NO, and to need to say it for your own mental health. My tolerance for what makes me feel okay has changed so much since March 2020.

That being said, we homeschooled Julia for Pre-k 4 when her school closed its doors. The time we had together as a family was something that I will never regret. I had such high hopes that her going into Kindergarten would feel different, that we would feel safe sending her. But now, as its drawing closer my positivity is turning into panic. I am uncomfortable with basic questions that can’t be answered because its such a moving target with cases rises and etc. But as a parent to a young child, how do you handle it? How do you grapple with the anxiety of sending your child into the unknown. I want Julia to enjoy school and all of the fun stuff that comes along with it- but I also know that she has her entire life to have those moments, and maybe homeschooling her for kindergarten is a better option for our family. I know that I am very fortunate to be able to have the choice to homeschool her and keep her in my sight all day, not everyone can have that opportunity. I just have to wonder will the benefits of her socializing with 13 other kids really outweigh the benefit of being homeschooled? Maybe school situations will be different next year and then it will be a different worry. But for now it seems like every move is the wrong move. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, I suppose.

photo credit to Carrie Werner Photography

I enjoy watching my girls play together too, just being sisters together and having fun. They are so sweet with each other, and I can tell will be able to lean on each other. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely have moments of arguing with each other, but more often than not they are good with each other. I also can’t help but think of how different the landscape of our day will be as a family when Julia begins school. Some of my favorite moments are just snuggling in our bed as a family in the mornings after the girls are awake. I know, as I said before, eventually Julia will goto school, but does it really have to start now in the middle of a pandemic that it feels like just keeps circling like a pissed off bee waiting to sting you? We have lost so much of the last 18 months that it’s been hard to get the time back and have the experiences that we thought we could have had by now back and completed- not to mention, our summer has been pretty blah weather wise.

This year will be another year of incredible change for our family, a lot of transitions will be coming into play as the year comes to a close. Family dynamics will shift and we will ultimately be in uncharted waters. But sometimes that just enough of a kick in the pants to open your eyes and live life for right now. Live for the special moments that we can’t get back. We are only this young once, Julia & Audrey will only be this age for a fleeting portion of time. I want to look back and say that we did everything that we could as a family to enjoy each others time before the hustle and bustle of life ramps back up with a new “normal”. I want this time when it seemed like the world stood still to matter in the grand scheme.

Being a parent right now and sending your kids off to the unknown in school is so incredibly difficult. I know teachers are doing their best too to make the school year not focused on the pandemic, but instead focused on growth and learning together as a class. Now that is a tough job to have in the midst of everything else thats going on in the world. Calming the nerves of students and their parents. I have leaned on my friends to share their experiences with me and listen to their worries. We are all concerned about how this impacts our children. Each one of them brings something completely different to the conversation, but they always circle back to the thought that I know in my heart what will be the best decision for our family.

There has been so much that has happened within our world that it seems so easy to slip away and cut off from the world. In someways, you almost need to do that to have a healthy relationship with your own mental health. Writing has always felt so good, to see my feelings written on paper its cathartic to just get it off of my chest. I hope if you are a parent and in the middle of the same feelings that you know you aren’t alone, we are all retreating to our little corners of anxiety and then trying to put a brave smile on for our kids. Sending your kids off to any grade in school is going to be tough. God Speed to the rest of us as we navigate this incredibly hectic and emotionally exhausting time in life.


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