I remember first hearing about the coronavirus in January and not giving it much thought. I’ve never been one to doomsday over illness. While I heard the story unfolding, I honestly thought life would continue as normal. However, living in Washington State means that “business as usual’ has ceased to be. Church has changed. School is closed until the end of April at the earliest. Each day brings something new to process and absorb. So let’s dive into this new adventure.
This weekend was my first wedding at the “wedding facility coordinator” at our church. It was supposed to be the biggest of the three weddings I have on the books. The family was able to handle almost everything by themselves. I was on-site to supervise and help as needed, but mostly I was in the background watching things (social distancing). The experience overall was very positive. It was good chance for me to observe before being more active in future weddings. My heart did go out to the couple who had to cut their guest list below 250 when they were expecting much more than that. There was definitely a quiet vibe over the day, but it was still a lovely wedding. The couple is officially married. Their family and close friends were there to celebrate with them. I view that as a success even though plans had to change.
On Friday, as the wedding decorating was happening around the church, I was praying over the announcement I heard was coming – schools closing. My MOPS & MOMSnext group follows the school schedule. I knew that decisions about our group meeting would be based on the decision to close schools. On top of that, school closures meant my kids are on an extended break now. Both boys are doing fantastic at school. They are learning and have great friends. I’m sad that their very positive school experience has been paused. Owen, especially, is blowing me way his capacity for learning right now and I don’t want him to lose that momentum. I’ve been mourning the decision to close schools and not because I don’t want my kids home with me. I love having my kids home. I’m the mom that cried at the end of Christmas break. My sense of mourning comes from something good coming to a close, at least for now.
I had sensed that there might be a gap in the school year coming soon. Before any announcements were made, I had purchased a workbook for Owen. It’s a Brain Quest summer workbook for in-between grades (kindergarten and 1st). Since Owen is already doing 1st grade work, I figured this might be more useful than a kindergarten level book. Owen’s teacher was able to send home a homework pack for this week. After we work through that packet, we’ll start working on the summer book. Over the weekend, I was able to create a Monday-Thursday daily schedule that will include homeschooling. Friday will be family days. I’m praying for good weather over the next six weeks so we can go explore outside and avoid a stir-crazy feeling. I have a chance to dabble in the realm of homeschooling. I’ve often pondered if I would like homeschooling. Now I have an opportunity to test it out.
Today was our first official day of homeschooling. It went well and we accomplished everything on the lesson plan. We started our day with the Pledge of Allegiance. We talked about the day of the week and the weather outside. We moved into worksheets on reading, writing and math. Owen read a book out loud while Graham traced his name and colored. Then we went into music time where we sang and danced to two worship songs. After that it was outside time with 15 minutes of walking/biking. Once we we were back inside, we had a snack and then 15 minutes of educational tablet time. After that we created with Play-Doh and played a math-related board game. Before they could move on to free time, the boys each had to pick a chore to do around the house. Day one was a complete success! Here’s hoping we can keep this up!
Our church met yesterday, so Jeremy was at work in the morning. The boys and I stayed home. I did children’s church with the boys. This looked like a Bible story, a song, and praying together. Graham told me that goldfish crackers are a necessary part of children’s church. At 10:00am, our church shared a live video of the gathering. I used my phone and screen mirroring to play the message on the TV. The boys started out watching the gathering with me but then they ran off to play. It was a different way to do church and I’m intrigued to see how online church plays out in the future. It will take some getting used to, but I am thankful for technology that allow us to gather online.
It seems like each day brings new changes. I have my worries and fears. I’m trying my best to take them to God and lay them down. I understand that my anxiety won’t improve anything. I’m working hard to keep a positive attitude in front of my boys. It’s okay to be sad over changes. It’s a delicate balance of validating feelings without being controlled by them. If this was a regular break, I would plan fun outings to keep the boys busy. With even play dates being iffy at this point, I’m not quite sure what six full weeks at home looks like. I’m an introvert and while I’m a big fan of simplifying life, this is new territory for me. A break, sabbatical, vacation from extra responsibilities seems nice now. I’m sure though I will miss my church family and friends. I will miss reading with kindergartners on Tuesdays. I will miss play dates and the social interaction of having company over.
I was given flowers at the end of the wedding on Saturday. They are a lovely reminder to bring beauty into my home. Life looks different now. I can control my attitude. I can be thankful. I can be present with my loved ones. I’m praying that, even through the weirdness, these could be the best days of our lives. I’m praying that we can learn to slow down. I’m praying that family time will be sweet. I’m praying that education will still move forward. I’m praying that when the bans are lifted we all have a greater appreciation for each other and the world we live in. This is a great opportunity and certainly a new adventure.
Here are pictures from the last week: