Just a few months ago, April and May brought the end of the most difficult school year we had ever seen in my family. You’re probably nodding your head with understanding. My oldest son graduated high school and my youngest finished 5th grade. I ended the year at an all-time low. Standard-wise, that is. I just wanted to make it to graduation and I just wanted my 11 year old to pass 5th grade. I didn’t care about homework, report cards, or any of the usual stuff. I just wanted it to be over and wanted my boys to come out alive.
Not only had my kids faced the most challenging year of school, but I had faced the most difficult challenge of my career in long term care and had gone through a divorce during it all. We had done school online, in-person, and hybrid forms of the two. I had been interviewed by a new company and was seriously considering a job change. By the time spring 2021 came around, my divorce was final, my vaccine had been administered, my new job had started, the end of the school year was in sight, and I just needed to crawl over that finish line.
Summer break began, and I kept reassuring my 11 year old that next year we would have a “fresh start.” “We made it through,” I’d say, “and next year we will do better.” Next year is nearly here, and we face yet another spike in COVID cases. Who knows what school will look like? Yet I’m still planning on that fresh start. Here’s how:
1. I’m using my newfound COVID conveniences to my advantage.
From the comfort of my home, I’ve ordered the school supplies and all of the required reading books for the year. COVID opened my eyes to a whole world of online ordering and delivery and I’m not going back. Memberships like Amazon Prime and Walmart plus are losing money on me because I’m working them SO hard.
2. I’m refusing to worry about COVID guidelines.
With one COVID year under our belts, I’ve learned what worked and what didn’t. If we end up masking, going online, or whatever we do, we did it before and we can do it again. Fretting and complaining about it isn’t helping my son adjust, so I’m not doing that. Our mantra this year is, “We’ve Got This!!”
3. I’m seeking help.
Currently interviewing counselors for my son, I’m being proactive about getting him some help and support. He’s been through a worldwide health crisis, PLUS some pretty heavy stuff at home. I was once told that adults in pain often seek help for their pain but don’t think to get their children the same help. I don’t want to be one of those adults. I want to give my kids a chance to have an objective party they can trust who can help them deal with the pain we’ve had over the last year.
4. I’m setting routines.
The thing I love about a new school year is a chance for a fresh start. I’ve already got our routines in mind and new guidelines and expectations for school in a COVID world. Bedtime, reading, the GPA required in order to get to play sports, homework plans … all of it is being thought through and written out so that we can still get that fresh start we’ve been looking forward to since school ended.
A worldwide health crisis has profoundly changed our lives for the worse. Still … I’m alive! My children are alive and healthy. Rather than wait for COVID to be over (who knows when THAT will happen?), I’ve decided to start the school year with a grateful, hopeful attitude in spite of the fact that the virus is still a threat.