As with so many months, I have this article written in my mind..even drafted on the computer and at the last minute I change it. It’s one of those things that can drive me crazy about myself.
Today is the first day that all of our KDG-12th grade students are in the buildings at the same time since the 2019-2020 school year. While we may bear different perspectives of the Covid-19 pandemic that has driven us to this point, it is the reflections found throughout this journey not only within the walls of the school but as much, throughout our lives that circle in my mind.
It is abundantly clear that the lives of families have been dramatically impacted by the changes in school during the last seven months and as much as I would like to promise you that that has passed, I can’t. It is believed that disruptions will continue for the remainder of this school year.
Naturally, we all have had differing encounters with the Covid-19 virus that form our perspective of the situation. I want to give you just a few glimpses into some reflections that I feel fortunate to take away from this time.
I don’t believe we are any more or less unique than others. I simply believe that reflection can help us make sense of this time and draw hope for the days we again return to a “normal” that is more reflective of the time not so long ago. For the most part everyone’s lives and families have been impacted in some way by the pandemic throughout these last seven months. I count my blessings that we have not lost a close friend or family member as of now and I pray that all continue to be safe.
As thoughts of the holidays begin to dance in my head, one of my tugging reflections is based in the mounting weight of the miles between here and Hawaii. While a beautiful place to visit, it is very far from home and the hug of a mother and grandmother. Our son-in-law was stationed there last November. He along with our daughter and three grandchildren haven’t been home since due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19. He lost his grandfather and like many families, they are waiting for everyone to be able to gather to celebrate that life.
Tucker, five years-old, started Kindergarten this year. He was to start in mid-July and started in late August…completely virtual. He was so sad. At the same time, Tucker, born with Spina Bifida, has had several medical procedures recently to try to continue to gain greater mobility in his legs. Last Thursday, that didn’t go as planned and he broke a leg…while technology helps to fill the void…it is and never will be like that of human touch. It was so hard not to be able to visit him and hold him…and our daughter.
The impact of this time on our elderly and their loved ones is equally challenging. God bless the elder caregivers and I thank them for all of the work they do every day to keep them safe and well. My mother-in-law, in her late 80’s, lives in a local care facility. This week, my husband will get to visit her for the first time in a month or so. He’d been able to visit for short periods of time once a week in late July/early August, but the same spike that caused us to change our opening plans made them close those down as well. I see a greater sense of wholeness in him as he looks forward again to even these limited times of being with his mom. We hope it helps her to feel more balanced as well.
Here too, nothing can replace human touch, face-to face conversation and just the physical presence of those you love to help you get through.
In my mind the thread that weaves all of this together is time.
My husband is an only child. His mother had lived in her home for some 70 years before she came to live with us prior to moving to the care facility. She has always been a collector and a keeper. His father died some 55 years ago and his grandmother had lived with them for some 20 years before her death in 1987. Recently we have begun going through her home to prepare for a sale.
While at times it has seemed overwhelming, this has brought me, I believe, my greatest reflection of this experience. When we look at events through history and media, we lose the moments that made us who we are. While there are bad, sad and challenging times, it is the moments driven by our personal relationships that move us forward, make us whole again and often make us stronger. It’s the graduation, the marriage, the baby, watching the little ones grow and celebrating the little things such as Valentine’s Day with those we love. I found this reality not in the sorting of collections but in the discovery of what was held most precious through keepsakes which spanned from the Great Depression to World War II and forward to today.
Throughout those years, there were many dark days that time brought to a better day.
Time in itself is hope. Believe in time. Grant yourself and others time. Make the most of the moments we have now and have faith that in the future, time will bring us fully back to our relationships with friends and loved ones.
In closing, thank you for the patience and grace that you continue to afford us during this challenging time. We are working to provide the best education possible in light of the pandemic. We are so excited to have you children back in school today and hope to be able to keep them here for as long as is considered safe. We appreciate each day we get to see and be with them as we do with our families and our friends.
Thank you for taking the time to think about my meanderings.
Notice of Nondiscrimination: It is the policy of the West Burlington Independent School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy please contact Equity Coordinator, 607 Ramsey St., (319) 752-8747, Equity.Coordinator@wbschools.us.