Friday, August 21, 2020…4:19pm
The end of week 23 and “summer vacation” is grinding to a close.
School begins next Wednesday. And by “school” I mean virtual learning for at least the beginning of 8th and 9th grades for my kids.
Although we were willing to take the risks involved in having them back on campus part time as part of the “blended” model our district developed, the state of CA declared campuses have to remain closed in counties on the “watch list”. So there is no hope of a return to in person school until LA county sees 14 days straight of a decrease in new cases of COVID-19. In the moments I am being honest with myself, and with the kids, the earliest I think they will return to campus is the start of the 2nd semester. In the moments I am being brutally honest with myself, I think they are most likely in virtual school for the entire year.
For the past week we have been in full prep mode for this different back to school season. Text book check out (SO many books for both kids), reorganization of desk areas and making space for all the things their multiple classrooms and lockers would normally hold, reorganizing and restocking of the freezer and pantry to encourage school day eating that fuels brain and body in the healthiest way, and just the teeniest bit of online shopping for new school clothes. This final weekend before school begins will be spent with me living through helping our eldest sift through the chaos of his bedroom to literally make space for uncluttered learning. In the bedroom next to that, my husband will be helping our youngest repaint her room, because she’s decided the teal she chose in the 4th grade does not reflect the maturity of her 8th grade self (apparently gray is the current color that expresses her being).
The weekend will pass. Monday and Tuesday will feel like nano seconds. Wednesday morning will come and the 2020-2021 school year will begin. We’re ready and yet I can’t even begin to imagine what this year will actually hold. I can make myself crazy working through the “what if” scenarios, or I can try to find some peace and grace in deciding to live in the day to day. Grace and peace are infinitely better than walking into the crazy making, so I’m choosing to live in the day to day and know that on many days that will probably look more like living in the moment to moment.
While both kids seem “ready” on this last weekend before school begins, I know that there is no way to fully be prepared since there is no way of predicting how the school year will actually play out. But isn’t that always the case? Part of the strangeness of this time has been the artificial assumption that in “normal” times we are fully in control of life. We aren’t. There have always been and will always be forces outside of our control. The pandemic is definitely bigger than many things that alter the path of life, but in the big picture it really is just one more thing shaping our journey. In an alternate universe, this school year would begin on campus just like all the ones that came before, but there still would be no guarantee that both kids would have trouble free years.
We play the hand we are dealt, and right now that means school from home. We don’t like it, we would not have chosen it, but we understand the reasons and we’re working together to make it work. Day by day, moment by moment with as much grace and peace as we can possibly muster along the way.
Be well my friends.