I don’t know a parent that isn’t conflicted about their decision making this school year. Most are going virtual with their learning. We’ve had an opportunity to send both kids to a small school with in person learning–not a decision everyone could or would choose. This is the decision that we have made as a family alongside a school with great attentiveness to the circumstances of this moment and great precautions taken. For the last two months this decision has dominated our family thought and discernment.
And so, as school arrives this week, I receive the roller coaster emotions that comes with new routines. My in-laws were here last week from many states away. Their presence reminded us of the space that comes when other loving adults pour energy and love into caregiving. Their dedication prepared me for the reality to have more stretches of work time and to release them into places of new learning outside our home. Our kids have already been taking in with joy the sights of classrooms and teachers. They share the names of the new friends they are making.
I still wrestle with our new reality, recognizing how much of my head and heart space has been wrapped up into their daily activities. I recognize the fear that comes with the pandemic. Parents are juggling big demands and difficult decisions each day. I see the relief that I am supposed to feel with my kids in a new setting, and I can see the possible pathway to get there. I am still weary in my spirit.
Today, we sent in a family photo to my son’s class- so that he can show his family to his new friends, and I am sure so that it can be added to the family photo board in the classroom. I think also to my daughter’s creative place setting this past week as her critters set down to share a meal. We’ve shared so many meals together, the four of us.
For now, I am admitting the grayness when no choice feels like a great one. I am sizing up the joy that I can eventually embrace as we move forward. I am lamenting the ways in which we are still facing dishevelment. My thanks reside in the place settings as family. For all that we mean to each other, I give thanks. For teachers and administrators. For all that others will be to us, we give thanks. For the school year ahead with its messiness and opportunity, we lift our hope. For our friends who have faced and made different decisions, we share our complete understanding and love.