Voice of Reason
|Posted on December 30, 2020 at 5:40 PM|
What a year! This has been one of the craziest years that our world has seen in many years. Even with war, famine and other natural disasters that have hit our world, there has not been such a universal situation that has completely covered the globe at the same time. COVID-19 has literally changed the world. There is not one piece of our daily lives that has not been affected. Travel is practically non-existent, shopping involves: coat, shoes and mask, toilet paper is at a premium, Disneyland has shut down, going out for supper is a complete luxury even if it’s just to MacDonald’s, many workers are now working from home, in school learning is a bonus not available to all, funerals are via Zoom, eloping is the new marriage trend, parents are home working and raising their children at the same time and cash is not encouraged.
Everyday life can be monotonous. There is nowhere to go and no one to see without breaking COVID regulations. Christmas has been very heart breaking for many people. Seniors have been isolated in homes, singles are not allowed to travel to see family, families are not allowed to gather, many have been without work and cannot afford the Christmas fanfare, and businesses are closing their doors because people can’t go out and shop, children don’t get to sit on Santa’s knee, and Christmas parties are non-existent.
2020 is the year that the entire world can agree they would rather not have experienced. There was no positives. Our freedoms have been curtailed and our wants are not considered. It is as if we are in a never ending holding pattern. Let it all be done with.
As I sit back and reflect on 2020 it saddens me to think of the losses. I have had a dear friend, my step mother-in-law, and an uncle pass away. There was no funeral to honor them or provide closure. My son graduated from high school and my daughter graduated from university and neither of them had a traditional graduation experience. I had many trips cancelled, times with friends become shortened, my daughter was unable to go on her medical internship to Thailand, and when I did leave the safety of my home it was with trepidation that COVID was lurking in every nook and cranny to get me. It is a year that globally we all hope never happens again. Or is it?
While I would never wish the devastation of the pandemic on our world again it has not all been bad. If I am being honest some of it has been amazing! In the beginning of the pandemic my daughter was at university in Ottawa. From the time the pandemic was declared until she was home with us was five days. Five days to pack up and transport four years of her life across four provinces, still continue school online as the university was closed, and fly home (planes were a very real concern as that is how the pandemic had spread with infected passengers coming into our country on planes). While she did not get to finish school in a traditional way and had a lot of her plans cut short I did get my daughter home three months early. She is now home doing her masters online as the university is still closed to onsite students. I love having my child home with me! Which I know is selfish because she would like to be in school working alongside her friends and mentors. But, I am going to be grateful forever for this gift of bonus time with her.
As a family we discovered some new camping spots that were a bit off the beaten path. We got to enjoy some cute little municipal campgrounds with friends. These spots maybe didn’t have the best golf courses but they had friendly community grown golf courses that allowed families to golf together even if there were more than four of you in a family. They had fish ponds and bird watching, little parks and walking paths. There were spots that we never would have gone to if the traditional parks would have been open.
With the kids graduating our family had a social distanced fifty person backyard party. This party had everything from my eighty-seven year old father to seventeen year old grads. Grads, young adults, middle aged, and seniors enjoyed a day, evening, and night of good laughs, good food, and great memories. One of my son’s eighteen year old friends said it was the best party he had ever been too. That party brought neighbours, friends, and generations together.
Without being able to entertain ourselves with things like movies and restaurants we had to come up with other ways to entertain ourselves. There were neighbourhood fires with six of us, lots of family crib games on the deck, ladder golf, rock painting and checking out the swimming hole by Nordegg.
People in the community worked together to bring some happiness to one another. There were wine fairies that delivered bags of wine to the door for fun. Neighbours brought goodies and family games. Community members brought Santa to the streets of town. There were numerous sponsors in the community that helped bring Christmas to those in need. Sidewalk chalk could be found beneath your feet throughout town with messages of hope and pictures to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. People have worked and are still working together to come up with unique ways to live life to its fullest in a limited capacity. I attended my first online baby shower the weekend before Christmas. It was not the norm that we are all used to but it was very amazing. If it hadn’t been online I wouldn’t have been able to attend because it was in the USA and I am in Canada. We played games, had snacks (provided our own), and got to spend time with the expectant parents. It was awesome. I missed seeing my great nieces this summer. As a family we were supposed to go to BC and see them. COVID put a stop to that plan. So, we had to get creative. I have actually spent more time with the girls and my niece because of COVID. We have Zoomed numerous times throughout the year. I planted a fairy garden at my house this summer that the girls helped me fill every week with their ideas. I have read Christmas stories by the tree and listened to them read and sing to me. I got enjoy my grand niece’s Christmas concert via YouTube. We have developed a great bond even though we are not in person.
When living in a bubble you grow even closer to the people around you. I have got to spend some great time with young people and old that are in my bubble. My dad organized years of slides that we shared together via online. It was nice for him to relive memories and share them with me. Playing games and camping with bubbled friends has been such a blessing. We never got to do much of that because our kids were always so busy in sports.
I am working now fulltime. I have been working fairly steady since the beginning of the school year. It is official now though since the end of November. I know I get to work until at least the end of January. It is my greatest hope that I get the whole school year. I am in a classroom of grade ones now. I am cohorted to that class and Monday through Friday that is where I spend my time. Before that I was going to various classes. Because of COVID there was an abundance of casual work for me which has been such a blessing. I love spending time with my little ones. While it is daunting to be working with children that do not wear masks it is so rewarding. Now more than ever we are expecting our children to adapt to a new way of doing things. Not only do these little ones spend days away from home that they are not used to but they also do it under the cloud of COVID. Our children are amazing and adaptable. You tell them to wear a mask they put a mask on, some of the tweenie students in the school have started making fashion statements with their masks making them match their outfits or decking them out with sequins, students have learned to stand like an airplane with their arms out so they are socially distanced, it is not an issue to have them sanitize as soon as they go into a different room in the school or come in from outside, children go in and out the proper doors, and they follow the arrows that are lined out for them for safety. I personally think our children are combatting and tolerating COVID better than a lot of adults that I know.
The team I work with is incredible. Our administration is checking in with everyone all the time to make sure everyone is okay. COVID is very scary in a public situation where you are constantly in touch with everyone around you. No matter the rules that are in place you are working with children and their families so you are being constantly introduced to their germs. It can be overwhelming. Also, there are members of the team that COVID has affected their home lives whether it be mentally, physically, or financially. It creates stress that is overwhelming at times. Coworkers need one another to lean on. I had to work in the office for two weeks before Christmas. When I asked my administration what I should do once I am done my daily chores their response was, “It is your job to focus on everyone that comes into the office. You are the first face they see and we want everyone to feel heard and given extra attention in these times.” When they spoke of everyone they meant parents, teachers, students, visitors, and even our delivery service people. The response from the leaders of our school team was to make sure no one was falling through the cracks if they were feeling stressed, unhealthy, or scared. They worked hard at finding out which families needed extra help this season whether it be for gifts, food, gas, emotional support, or all of it combined. Other members of the team left secret Santa gifts for everyone, some handed out goodie bags, and a member got up at 4:30 am so we all had fresh cinnamon buns for breakfast, emails were shared with positive notes, and everyone was thankful for all the little things that get done in a day. ERE Rocky Elementary really pulled together to ensure that working throughout COVID was not only “okay” but exceptional.
I have watched more families than ever bike throughout my community. If you even tried to buy a bike in my local town there was none to be had. Every store was sold out. Board games were also a hot commodity. More families than ever were playing games or having family movie nights. My children were always so busy with sports that it was hard to sit down as a family for a meal let alone the extra things like playing games as a family. This year with no organized sports and nowhere to go families had to rely on one another for entertainment. For that I am thankful. Our society needed to put family first again. I totally believe in sports and activities for our children but it is equally important that families have time to develop together.
While COVID has affected millions, killed off generations in some areas of the world, stalled the world economic community, and devastated many it has also provide a reset. It has brought a large portion of the global community back to its grassroots and simpler times, one that was not in constant motion. It is good to rest, to reset, and to revive oneself. We can looked at all the upheaval that COVID has caused and become very despondent or we can take a look at the positives. When we look at the positives it gives me hope that we will come out of this pandemic a much stronger global community, put family first, and perhaps slow down a bit to actually enjoy all the things we work for.
May 2021 be a year of many blessings for you and your family. May it be a year of global healing. And may we never forget the lesson 2020 has taught us - Slow down, live life with gratitude and love one another.