I started feeling a little overwhelmed in early August and I could feel myself drawing inward. It’s funny–at the moments when I probably have the most to write about, I find myself the most quiet. I been this messy ball of emotion these past few weeks and I couldn’t quite put a finger on what I was feeling. As I talked about it with my mom this weekend, I realized that it felt like: grief.
It feels like grief.
I expected this wave of relief to wash over me once I finally made the decision to homeschool this year… but it never came. I definitely feel it was the right decision for our family this year, and I feel at peace with that, but my thoughts about school have been in utter turmoil.
One part of me is excited to try this. I honestly think that if I can pull it off, it could be really great.
The other side is mourning the fact that this is where we are: I hate that this is our current reality. I get that I can’t change it, and that I probably need to let that go, but honestly… covid sucks. The end.
My heart has been so heavy as I’ve followed the news and talked with friends all over the province. Even through their optimism and hope, worries bleed through. How could they not? There is still so much that isn’t organized. So much that isn’t safe.
So much unknown.
I know somehow this will all work out. It has to. I refuse to believe otherwise. But oh… thinking about people I care about deeply walking back into situations where so much is out of their control has weighed heavily on my heart.
It’s the downside of being an empath, I think… but I can’t help it.
These are some of my favourite people on the planet. The people who have been with me through some of my highest highs and lowest lows. The ones who made me laugh again after my miscarraige. The ones who were there with me, picking up my pieces in the first moments after I learned that my friend had been killed in a car accident. They are more than just coworkers.
They are my friends.
My big sister.
Thinking about them heading back into work this week has been heavy. Thinking about me not heading back into work with them this week has been heavy. I feel guilty feeling relieved when I have this option to stay home when so many others don’t. It feels a little like I’ve been at war with myself in my heart.
And so, I’ve been quiet.
I’m mourning what COVID has stolen from our education system. I’m mourning the fact that my children might not see their friends from school for a while. I’m mourning the fact that people I care about might get sick. I’m mourning the fact that I might not be doing a job that I love this year.
I know this is temporary. I know this will pass. I know there are so many bright sides… and I promise I do see them.
But I also know for this weight to feel a little less heavy I have to speak it out loud and send it off into the universe. I need to let go of the fear and let that space fill with light.
So that’s where I’ve been… it’s not been a particularly sunny place so I didn’t want to drag you all in with me. But I’m moving through it and holding on to the hope that everything will be okay. I feel ready to start planning my homeschool program now… and I’ll try hard not to feel guilty about it.
Even in the face of all this uncertainty, there’s still so much good.
I just saw a message from my school board on Facebook.
It was directing parents to check their email for an update about about the school year that was sent today. I picked up my phone and opened my gmail app–no email. I thought that was a bit weird, so then I checked my junk mail just to see if it had somehow gone there instead, but again–no email.
I sat here scratching my head for a minute, wondering why we hadn’t received it. Then it hit me: I don’t get those emails anymore.
I sent my intent to withdraw form in last week. My kids are no longer with the school board and it just felt VERY real.
It seriously made me catch my breath for a minute and have a HOLY CRAP moment. This is real. I am homeschooling in September.
(In the very best possible way.)
These are uncharted waters but I’mma figure this out. Time to start planning.
It’s go time.
I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to write about lately.
I think my brain has just been running non-stop with all of off this school stuff that it’s sort of shut down and doing a massive reboot. It’s strange… even though the decision is made and the forms are in, I still feel this ominous presence looming in front of me as September approaches.
It’s not about homeschooling, I still feel at peace with that. I can’t quite put my finger on what is leaving me feeling so unsettled… I guess it feels like we’re about to turn a page in the next chapter of Life with Covid and for once, I can’t predict the twists or turns in this story. I can’t flip to the last page to cheat and see how this ends.
It was grocery day today. I’m still doing online pickup, though I have been back inside a grocery store twice in the last few weeks. Baby steps, right?
As I sat in my van waiting for my order to be brought out, I saw a family pull up and park one row across from me. The parents got out and pulled their two kids from the back seat, then they all went into Walmart together.
It looked so… normal.
We haven’t been family shopping like that since January. M caught on to what was happening elsewhere in the world before I was really ready to see it, but we began only taking the kids out on essential trips a few weeks before everything shut down. As I sat there and watched the family walk into the store today, I realized that I could not remember the last time we had done that.
It felt so strange. To realize that such a normal thing now feels so absolutely abnormal to me. The kids have been out with us on smaller, quick outings… but to grocery shop as a family? It’s easily been at least six months.
It just made think… when will this feel normal again? When will I feel safe enough to haul my entourage into the store with me? The not knowing is hard sometimes. Most of the time I try to only look at one day at a time because this all feels too big if I don’t.
This week I think I am feeling it all a little more keenly than I have been lately, I guess. Ebbs and flows, right?
Maybe I just need to lose myself in a bit of light for a bit. Escape to the world of Mr. Darcy or Gilbert Blythe.
After all, tomorrow is always fresh… with no mistakes in it.
Two weeks ago, news broke that a woman not so far from me had been attacked while out for an evening jog.
I am a true crime junkie, so this was far from the first news report about an attack on a female runner that I’ve ever read. But there was something about this case that sunk deep into my gut and unsettled me.
Maybe it was because I know people that know her. Maybe it’s because it was a random attack, and for so long it felt like the police had no suspects. Maybe it’s because it’s closer to home than I’m used to. Maybe it’s because I know that she spent 13 hours overnight, alone, critically injured just off a walking path, waiting to be found.
Maybe it’s because I felt some strange connection to this case, and feel that really, it could have been me.
I don’t run in the evenings anymore… but I used to. I was an evening runner for years. And to be perfectly honest, if it wasn’t for COVID and M working from home most of the week, I’d probably still be an evening runner now. I have spent many evenings running or walking on the trails here, at the exact time she left her home.
Since the news broke about the attack, I feel like I’ve been a little on edge. On one hand it feels almost silly to be so affected as it technically happened in another city and I don’t know her at all… but on the other hand, I feel so strangely connected to this case. I’ve followed every update, ravenous for information about police progress and her status in hospital.
I think deep down it gutted me because this is one of my biggest fears, and it happened in a place I know well.
It’s different when you read about it in another country, or another province. When it happens not far from where you live, the impact is different. The fear is real.
Today police announced that they had made an arrest in the case–a 21 year old man was in custody and they were confident they had their man. With the release of his name came the charges against him: attempted murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated sexual assault. They don’t believe he knew the victim before the attack.
As relieved as I was to know the police had someone in custody, hearing the charges just made my skin crawl and I really acknowledged how much this case has gutted me. It has added another complicated layer to the uneasiness I already feel about running on the trails unless they are packed with people. This attack happened on a path in the middle of the city, with a police station just down the block.
It just made all those running safety tips I’ve read over the years feel very real. It also made me take pause and realize that despite all the good you find in the world, there really is evil here too. Shortly after police released the name of the suspect in custody, news broke that someone of the same (fairly unique) name had sent best wishes for her recovery and donated a substantial sum to the GoFundMe account that had been set up to assist her family.
It made me feel sick.
I’m glad he was caught, and I hope he spends the rest of his life behind bars. I hope that she is able to recover from this somehow, and is able to live a full and happy life in the years to come.
I hope that the feelings of safety and security he stole from the people nearby isn’t permanent. He attacked one woman, but he violated an entire community.
For me, this case has really just made me take pause. It made me realize that I’m quietly grateful for each run I finish that is totally uneventful.
I refuse to let the joy I’ve found in running to be stolen from me, but this case hit me hard… and I feel like a few pieces were chipped away. I’ll keep running, but with my music low, my hair tied up, and always in daylight when there’s almost too many people out.
And hopefully that will always be enough.
The deadline to decide between remote (virtual) and in-person learning for my kids is today.
We have talked this through every which way over the last two weeks, going back and forth over the options as we tried to decide what was right for our family. We talked about keeping them enrolled but not sending them for a while. We talked about sending them part time. We talked about trying school on the computer again and what that would be like. I emailed back and forth with our principal and the school board, trying to get all the information I possibly could. There have definitely been some white nights on my part as I tried to weigh out the possible implications of each option.
The sad reality is that there are no great options. There really aren’t. As difficult as this has been, I feel incredibly blessed to have even had the opportunity to wrestle through this…. for so many people I know, there really are no options. They have to work, and so their kids will need to be in school.
As we talked about virtual vs. in-person, there was really only one option that we could find any peace with:
I just submitted my letter of intent to homeschool to my school board and withdrew my children’s enrollment for September.
I cannot even begin to tell you about the ridiculous mix of emotions I’m feeling right now. To be totally honest, I’m devastated that this is where we are. I’m a teacher. I LOVE my job. I believe school is SO important for kids on so many levels.
…but not like this. Not in the way it’s being set up at present. We just didn’t feel right about sending them for in-person learning right now, and Miss S really struggled with the set up of the virtual class last spring. From what I understand, this year it will be even more structured than before… and I can’t put her through that again. We talked to each one of the kids, and let them weigh in on the decision, and this is where we landed.
So, I’m going to do it. I’ve always tried to juggle the roles of being a mom and a teacher, but now I’m just going to juggle them for my little class of three. With the option to opt out of daily supply work on the table, I’m basically taking an unpaid leave to begin a new journey with the kids… at least for a few months until we see where things are.
When I sent that email to my board, the board that I work for, I felt this massive contradiction settle on my shoulders– it feels so heavy and so light at the same time. A strange combination of sorrow and relief is playing tug of war in my heart… and even though I feel settled in this decision, I’m so unsettled too.
How did we get here? *sigh*
So, it’s done. The letter is sent, I’ve notified the school and now we are forging a new path into the unknown.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me is a little excited. I know this will be challenging, but I also think it could be kind of great too. Miss S is already coming at me with a list of “electives” she would like to learn in addition to the curriculum books I’ve purchased. So far cooking, sewing and knitting are high on her list, and I think it’s kind of neat that I can add a focus on those skills in our day to day work. H has already come so far in his reading this summer, I’m excited to keep a spotlight on that and see where we can go with his writing too.
I don’t know what the future holds– but at least we have a plan now and I feel some peace with this.
And I hope that wherever you are with this decision, that you can too. ❤️