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Living in the gray.

We're in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Though it kinda seems like the world is on the upswing and we're in the thick of it. Seven months since we were first sent home. I teach English to kids in China so I had a sense of what was coming. My students there went home for winter break and still hadn't returned in February. When we were sent home March 12th, I had an inkling that was it. We were home to stay.

Kids, I have learned, are extraordinarily resilient. Not to say this hasn't had a toll. It has. I wonder about he long term effects. This loss of socialization, learning, normalcy. They have risen to the occasion but have lost so much. I wonder what they will tell their kids about this one day. Will it be the quagmire of the unknown like it feels to me or will it simply be how things were for a while.

We made the decision to sent the kids back hybrid. Meaning a combination of remote learning and in-school learning. You lot, it has been...hard. I've got one that flies through remote learning like it's no big deal. One who adorably yells colors at her iPad on live circle time. And one for whom remote learning suuuuuuuucks. It just isn't the way he learns. Add into that the varying schedules each one is own and the frustration and jealousy that stems from one being in Math and the other zooming around the house during Recess. I understand those feelings. They make sense. I feel the same way as I prep the kitchen for the third lunch period of the day. It's not easy.

So far we have been lucky. Only one case in their school. Caught and handled quickly. I don't know if we made the right decision. We made A decision and we stuck with it. But when I pick my kids up from their in-school days, it seems like we made the right one for our family. It's tough to see all the kids and teachers in masks. But I can see those beaming eyes above them. My kids hop in the car animated and excited from their day. Telling me about friends and recess and funny things that happened. Yes, it's different. They're smaller classes, lots of new procedures, masks, chrome books and safe circles outside. But I don't think they really see the different at this point. They're not focusing on that. They focus, instead, on the parts that are the same. The parts that they missed. The parts that fill them up.

I have been trying to learn from them. To appreciate what we do have instead of lamenting what we've lost. I will say, my kids have the lion's share of new normal. I am still largely home save for errands. But I do try to take a note from them. Appreciate that we are not in lockdown. I can run an errand or grab a coffee treat with my heart rate going through the roof. The gray is hard for me. Because I struggle with what it means. If this really is the new normal. I struggle with what to say to the kids. How to answer their questions in ways that are both honest and comforting. There is no chapter about pandemic parenting in any book. There is no how-to when it comes to remote learning with three different grades. There is no timeline of when things will return to whatever normal will be.

So we live in the gray. Rules are relaxed. Lots of grace given.


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