A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

Everyone has talked and posted about how awful 2020 has been. Most have had the perspective that this year has been so hard with many trials and tribulations, that they just want it to be over. Many have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, had to close their small businesses, and had to make very difficult decisions for themselves or their family. The year has tested us all. So many of us are wishing 2020 a speedy farewell!

But not me. I’m holding on to 2020 in these final hours as much as I can.

For me, 2020 was life changing. We started the year out with the first anniversary of losing a sweet babe, but being very hopeful and anxious with only a few months left until our rainbow baby was due.

March 13, 2020 was a completely normal day. I was teaching and prepping my classroom for my last week of work before the baby was to be born. I had just gotten all of my students on the bus when all of the adults were running and buzzing with the news that the governor was closing schools across the state due to the pandemic. I don’t think the pandemic felt real until that afternoon. I had the mindset that I had one more week at school before maternity leave. One more week with my beloved students and now I had received news that I wouldn’t even get to tell them goodbye. This was it.

In the back of my mind I knew this was also going to be my last day as a teacher in that third grade classroom. Although I hadn’t made an official decision about whether I would return to work after my maternity leave was up, I subconsciously knew this was it.

The whole thing left me very pregnant and very emotional. Pregnancy after loss had enough fears in itself but now on top of worrying about whether I was going to deliver a healthy baby, I also had to worry about Covid-19 and all that brought with it. Changes were being made at the hospital daily. The news was reporting each day about the rise in cases. Having a baby during a pandemic was completely unexpected, nerve racking, terrifying, but also so worth it.

Less than a month later we welcomed our sweet rainbow baby into the world and into a very small bubble. Over the next few months, we decided to homeschool our kids. Our oldest son moved to his moms to attend school there which was another huge transition for us. And I quit my job to be a stay at home mama.

So. Many. Changes.

My feelings this year? Ugh. Emotional roller coaster. Every day it seems there’s something new to worry about. If I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, I definitely do now! The constant worrying about what decisions to make and how to protect my family. The constant pressure to do things that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Wanting to do what’s best for us and having to deal with the consequences of saying no to people. The stigma in our town that Covid “couldn’t come here” or that “it’s all a bunch of bull.”… When I’m over here praying to God each night that the virus stays away from us. It was a lot.

And on top of my feelings and fears of Covid, there was a lot of disappointment. I was heartbroken that my five year old wouldn’t be able to experience a true year of kindergarten. I was devastated that my kids couldn’t visit us in the hospital when we had baby Beau. I was sad that my daughters had to abruptly leave school and couldn’t see their friends anymore. I was disappointed that our son missed his last year of playing rec league baseball and our daughter missed out on her first year of softball. I was terrified every day, every time we went out, and with every request from a family member to come over that we would contract the virus and get really sick.

However…. above my fears I realized this year has been the biggest blessing.

My kids have been healthier than ever. They have grown closer to each other. I haven’t missed a single snuggle, kiss, laugh, or cry.

In what would normally be a very busy time of running kids back and forth to practices, rushing off to school in the mornings, getting home late, grabbing quick dinners, cramming for tests and exams, arguing over homework…. everything that was completely normal and now is nonexistent is everything I didn’t realize we needed a break from.

It’s funny how life can give us unexpected miracles right when we need them. Things we had begun to take for granted had suddenly become special. And things we were super rigid on as parents seemed like not that big of a deal.

We let the kids stay up late and sleep in. We let them have Snapchat so they could connect with their friends. They ate all the snacks and drank some soda and laughed and played and enjoyed life. Even if it was different and anything but normal.

I have been able to breastfeed Beau with no pumping or having to drop him off at daycare listening to him cry for me when I leave. I’ve rocked him to sleep for every nap time and he has fallen asleep in my arms every night. No snotty noses or coughs from being in a classroom with germs. There’s been less schedules and more lazy afternoons. We spent weekends on our boat going on adventures and fishing, enjoying the great outdoors. We went on vacations anyway even when we were told to stay home. We. Enjoyed. Time. Together.

Our kids are healthy and safe, and while they might be missing their friends or some of the “normalcy” we used to know, they have made the absolute best of it and are still enjoying life. So while most of the country is kissing 2020 goodbye tonight, I’ll be whispering a “thank you” for giving me the one thing I didn’t know I needed more of… time.

Xoxo,

MK

There’s no place like home

There’s no place like home

I’ve always been a homebody. Ask my mama. When I was in preschool, I would cry and cry during nap time because I wanted to go home. When I was a little girl, I hated sleepovers. My mama even had to come get me once from a friend’s house late at night because I wouldn’t stay. As a grown up, I LOVE to travel but my favorite place will always be our home.

After Gene and I got married and we became his, hers, and ours… we began taking trips and opened our hearts and children up to how wonderful it is to travel. We aren’t rich by any means but we make it a priority to take vacations each year. We have made our own tradition to take the kids somewhere different, somewhere they’ve never been, every year. We are fortunate and proud to be able to provide these experiences for our children. Traveling with a big family is definitely something they will always remember!

This pandemic has put a halt to life as we know it, especially to anyone’s travel plans. Who knows if we will even get to take a vacation this year. As sad as that makes me, it doesn’t bother me to stay home. I’m not one to always have to go somewhere. I value the time I get on the weekends to stay home and clean. I always find a way to be productive around the house. There’s always a project that can be done! Gene is the same way. He would much rather be at home in the yard with the kids or grilling in the backyard than running the roads.

I know there’s many of you that say you aren’t cut out for being a stay at home mom or that homeschooling isn’t for you. But for me, I could actually swing it. If you know me, you know how organized I am. Creating my own schedule for the day and organizing our day for the kids is definitely something I could thrive on.

I know this isn’t true homeschooling fashion. I’m totally fine with letting them sleep in, and letting them go outside to play. Honestly, what’s being required of them now that school is out is too much. Yes, they are used to sitting in a classroom at a desk for 7 hours a day but they can’t possibly do all of that work they would normally do at school, at home.

Number one, there are too many distractions here. My home is not set up to be a learning environment. Number two, I might be a teacher but I’m not a Spanish teacher, okay? I can’t assist them with everything. They need help from teachers that they would normally receive in the classroom but it’s not that easy to receive that kind of support at home. Number three, our kids don’t know what to do. This is a crazy time and they are just as unsure of everything as we are.

So no I’m not going to make them sit at our kitchen table all day. I’m going to let them go outside and play. I’m going to let them watch movies. I’m going to let them go on 4-wheeler rides and sit by the fire pit past bedtime.

I know this pandemic is an awful, terrible thing that has caused so much disruption and chaos, illness and death. We are disappointed that we, like the rest of our country, are having to sacrifice many things we love. We may not be able to travel again for a while. We aren’t going to be able to have the kids visit our hospital room when the new baby is born. We can’t spend this spring going fun places. The girls may not be able to celebrate their birthdays the way they’d like to.

But above all of that, today we are healthy. Today we are together. Today we can hug each other. And we are just going to take one day at a time being grateful that the world has slowed down a little bit.

We may be quarantined, but honestly there’s no other place I’d rather be.

There’s no place like home.

-The Wizard of Oz

Xoxo,

MK