The house is quiet this morning.
I mean, really, really quiet.
Well, except for the sound of YouTube Kids videos ringing in my ears… You know, that intro music that I heard EVERY SINGLE time my son opened the app since March 7th? It’s playing in my head right now. I suspect that it will for a while.
This morning, I dropped all three of my kids off at their respective Frisco ISD campuses. Donning masks (cute ones, obviously) and carrying everything they’ll need this school year (there’s no sharing of supplies during a pandemic), they walked through the doors and returned to “normal”.
I’ve been eager for this day to come. Weeks ago when FISD asked whether we wanted virtual or in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year, I didn’t hesitate to select the latter. It was a no-brainer. I wanted my kids to have their lives back.
Although we made the most of our family time during quarantine, I felt that a significant part of their lives had been stolen from them. I want my children to have experiences outside of our family dynamic, and to be challenged to make decisions, to assert themselves, and to choose joy each day…without Mommy or Daddy by their side.
Clearly it was all very complicated and required a lot of patience, but after six months away from their campuses, the kids have now returned to school. And I’m so happy for them.
You’d think I would have immediately celebrated with girlfriends over mimosas, shouting “Praise the Lord, they’re OUT of the house!”
That was tempting… In the end, however, all I wanted to do this morning was BE STILL. And quiet. And to take a long exhale. We did it. And now I have a moment to myself.
Well, except for my husband. He’s still here. Can I send him to school, too?
Long before COVID, I used to speculate that if my husband and I both worked from home we’d drive each other nuts. As it turns out, I kind of like having him around. He’s officially scheduled to work from home until 2021, and although I really miss the daily alone time that I cherished last school year, I’m so grateful for my husband’s secure job and his presence.
The New “Tears and Cheers”
You’ve likely heard the phrase “tears and cheers” as it relates to Kindergarten parents dropping their kids off on the first day of school. Mixed feelings. This year, while in fact, I do have a Kindergartener, I think all parents are feeling “tears and cheers”.
Last March, when we were abruptly required to organize our lives around e-learning and suddenly had to be the tutor, the lunch lady, the custodian, and the technology aide, there were definitely tears. It was HARD. And I’ll just leave it at that, because…you already know. You lived it too.
Then, summer! And with the exception of having limited options for vacation, sleepovers, or general summer fun, it was a typical summer. I organized my work schedule around their fun, I never set my alarm clock, and clearly…they watched a lot of YouTube Kids.
Then, we began the first three weeks of virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year, and I’ve got to hand it to our teachers and administration — it felt remarkably better than last spring. More organized, less scary, and while still a huge responsibility for everyone involved, we learned that if necessary, we can do it. We can virtually learn this year if needed. Is it easy? No. Ideal? No. But should we be required to quarantine again, it’s do-able.
BUT TODAY, they returned to their campuses, smiling underneath their masks and ready for new adventures. I think it will be a big adjustment in many ways, not so much because of protocols, but because they’ve had very little structure in their lives since March. Aside from a few chores and a bedtime routine, it’s all been pretty loosey-goosey around here. Half the time they didn’t even change out of their pajamas.
I wonder if the YouTube Kids theme music is playing in their heads right now, too?
I have great respect for the parents who selected virtual learning for the remainder of the school year. They know what’s best for their household. Their house isn’t as quiet this morning and they still have a lot to manage.
We can do all things through His strength.
Last night, a few of my mom friends and I shared pictures with each other over a group text — backpacks filled with supplies, Zoom call schedules erased from the whiteboard, etc — and we joked, “GO TO SCHOOL LITTLE CHILDREN!”
We were feeling pretty eager to kick them out of the house. But now, I’m surprised to be missing their little faces. A lot.
Until I imagine them sitting in their desks, interacting with peers and teachers — then, I smile. It’s so good for them and I’m privileged to be the one who gets to pick them up after school and hear all about the day.
My middle schooler was feeling nervous this morning. Very nervous. Her closest buddies from last year won’t be on campus this year. She’s back to square one, making new friends and navigating the halls alone. We prayed, we talked, I encouraged… She’s been on my mind all morning. I reminded her that God told us in the Bible that we “can do all things through Christ who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13). She can do hard things. She can be brave. And it’s going to be a great day.
On a lighter note, together we wondered if “mask fashion” will be a thing this year? VSCO girls are out, mask fashion is in?
The COVID roller coaster of emotions is legit. Do I love that my daughter has to carry her art supply kit around with her all day because they can’t leave it at school? No. But I get it.
Do I love that we couldn’t walk our son into the school this morning for his first “real” day of Kinder? No. But I understand.
Do I love that parents won’t be invited to school events, parties, and assemblies this year? Actually…maybe a little bit! (There are a LOT of THINGS at our Elementary school!!)
Here’s what I DO love, for sure. I love our school district. I love our sweet teachers and administrative staff who have worked very hard to make this work. I love that we’ve all grown and re-learned the value of extending grace.
And I love my really, really quiet house.