Did I really just SAY that?


I am thankful for the Pandemic.


No, no, no...not the devastating illness itself, but the time it has given me to slow down and evaluate my life and my perspective on it.


Let me start by saying that if you have have lost a friend, family member, coworker or anyone else that has impacted your life in anyway to this horrible Covid illness, my heart and prayers go out to you. I cannot imagine the extreme sadness you have had to deal with.


But for me, as of this moment, my loved ones are safe from Covid. If they had it, like my Nana, they struggled, but eventually battled through it. I am beyond thankful for the strength they had to fight and the grace of God for giving me more time to enjoy having them in my life. I will not take that miracle for granted.


However, today I want to give you a different perspective of the Pandemic. One my friends and I have repeatedly talked about since everything stopped in March. One from the view of a wife, mother, special education teacher, business owner, friend and just a regular person.


In order to start, I have to take you back to the end of February 2020. I was teaching full-time in our local school. I was making sure that all three of our kids were at each practice and game, early, not just on time. I was keeping up with the laundry for five people changing multiple times a day depending on the number of functions on the calendar. I was in the stands for every game cheering and taking pictures. I was teaching lessons all day, writing IEPs and helping families navigate the educational system the best I could. I was spending time with family and friends on the weekend so that we kept in touch and had some down time. I was cleaning the house and helping with remodeling. I was growing my business and taking classes. And, in the rare occasions when we didn't have anything going on, we (our family of 5) would go watch one of the other local basketball teams play.


I'm not complaining. This was our life at the beginning of 2020 and before. It was hectic, it was chaotic, it was exhausting and it was ours. I knew that this season of life, like the newborn and toddler stages, wouldn't last forever. I just had to focus on the positive, take it one day at a time, enjoy everything I could, and get through it. And I totally thought I was rocking it.


Until....March 13th, 2020 hit.


That day, that day changed me forever.


I was exhausted. The bliss for our annual Christmas vacation at the beach had worn off. The stress of the demands of being a good wife, mother and teacher were starting to affect my health in the form of high blood pressure, which I couldn't get under control. I knew I needed a beak, but told myself Spring was coming soon and I would take a break then.


Only, March 13th 2020 happened and I had no control over it.


My anxiety took over and I had a meltdown.


I cried, I slept and I hid for a few weeks.


Because I realized that had the Pandemic not occurred when it did and shut everything down the way it did...I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown that I didn't even know was coming. And I don't know if I would have come back from that.


So...


I started to go for walks. I spent time with my husband and kids accomplishing tasks. I helped my son's start their own business. I made an office for myself and cleaned out our junk. I kept up with cleaning (well the best I could living on a farm). We did sooooooo many things as a family. We reconnected with some dear friends that we had drifted apart from while moving and chasing our kids.


And...we had our BEST summer yet. We hung at the lake with our group of friends. We threw ourselves into Sunday Fundays, which honestly were at times were actaully Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the occasional Monday Fundays. We tied up boats and cooked on the grill, floated in the water and let kids all do their thing on the water.


I dove into my business a bit and started expanding into developing resources for wedding photographers. I encouraged and supported all of my couples who had to make changes to their wedding day the best I could.


I read books, enjoyed our farm, helped the kids with their stuff, spent time just talking and dreaming with my husband.


Then I noticed...my blood pressure was getting better. I felt good. I felt in control. I felt like I was managing my life, not just trying to keep up with it.


Then Fall came around, and although a bit different, it ALL started again with the out of control blood pressure, feeling like I couldn't keep up with anything. Doing my best was still failing.


I realized that I had to reevaluate my life and my priorities , if I wanted to be a good wife, a good mom, a good teacher, a successful business owner and trusted friend. So I did some reflecting and thinking about what had changed since March.


I wasn't ready to give anything up, so I had to figure out what I could keep and just tweak (I know, a bit selfish of me). After some time spent thinking, researching and discussing, I decided it was teaching that had to change first for me.


So I took the leap, left public education for the first time in my life and have started a journey in the private cyber school community. So far, it has been a wonderful change. I am able to be home with my kids when they need me and not feel like I am letting anyone else down. I am able to relax a bit during the day and get lost in planning my lessons. I am able to throw in a load of laundry or 2. I am able to get dinner started so everyone can eat before the chaotic evening starts. I am able to work with a supportive, helpful and encouraging team.


Best of all, my health is improving. I can ENJOY all of the moments happening in my family's lives and not just be present for them.


This was just one step, but it was a big one for me. Without the Pandemic I do not know if I would have ever acknowledged what changes I needed to make in my life in oder to live and not just survive. And for that piece of it, I will always be thankful for the Pandemic. Not the illness, the struggling, the stress it has put on people financially, but the chance to reevaluate MY life before it was too late.


I hope my friends, that you have found something positive during this life altering time. I hope that in some way something so destructive and ugly, has given you a moment strength or clarity. I hope that you remain healthy and strong during the new year and that we can all look back at our journey and say, "we made it!"


Happy 2021 New Year!

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