When You Don’t Get Your Beginning
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
Last spring I wrote an article “When You Don’t Get Your Ending.” It resonated with many of you as you didn’t get the milestone endings you were anticipating for yourself or your child.
A similar theme is now occurring as we begin a new school year.
Parents who dreamed of what that moment would be like dropping off their college freshman never thought it would be while wearing a mask and following 48 additional move-in guidelines due to Covid.
Moms who imagined their child’s first day of Kindergarten imagined him to be able to see his teacher’s smile to comfort him through first day jitters. Instead that smile is hidden behind a face covering.
Many who had hoped that last year’s school year would be the end of remote learning, only to realize now we need to become experts in it all the more.
And without a doubt I know that our dear school administrators and teachers want more than anything to have the hallways filled with students again - ALL the students. They know what that first day normally looks like, and this is nothing close to normal.
Things look different, and I guess I find myself wanting to share some things on my heart once again. ❤️
Read my thoughts below, and if the school year is going great for you then AWESOME. Give thanks, and this article may not be for you, but it’s probably for a friend of yours so consider sharing it to encourage them.
Acknowledge What You Didn’t Get - This may seem simple, but there is something to be said for naming it. Perhaps out loud to a friend, journaling it, or praying it aloud to God.
“My freshman didn’t get his normal first year of high school.”
“I didn’t get the break I desperately needed in sending my kids back to school.”
State Your Feelings About It - It’s so healthy to sort through what’s going on in your heart and express it. Give your emotions a name or a description.
“I am sad my daughter is waiting a year to begin Kindergarten.”
“As a teacher, I am frustrated that educating my students is so much more complicated this year.”
“I am scared about juggling my job and remote learning.”
Try To Redeem The Situation However You Can -The resiliency and creativity of people continues to astound me during this time. Moms are no exception. 💪 I’ve heard and practiced some ideas that make the most of the situation.
If you’re on a hybrid schedule, make the most of those off days when you can. Line up the best playdates; go to the most interactive playgrounds; take a few three day weekends while you can.
If you’re a working mama, go out to dinner at your family’s favorite restaurant (with outdoor seating) more often than usual. It can be a great motivator to get through a tough day.
Send a few extra care packages to your kid at college for morale.
Trips to Dairy Queen are always a good idea in my book. Or whatever it is that trips your trigger to motivate them through a different- feeling school day.
Self-Care - I still need to throw this one in. It may not seem to directly relate, and yet as disappointment sets in about what you’re not getting as you begin the school year, your mental health may suffer. I know mine has.
As stated by the wonderful MOPS International Team: “COVID isn’t an environment that develops strong self-care & mental health practices. We have to fight to keep those going.” So….
Create the healthiest schedule possible for yourself and your family as you remote learn, homeschool, hybrid learn, or balance work amidst an unusual school scenario.
Do things that make you happy. Especially for those of you who are handling remote learning or diving into homeschooling for the first time, you are encountering even more stress. Find your “thing” again - new trails to hike, new shows to watch, intentional time with friends.
This Will Come To An End - Let’s Learn from History - Older men and women are sharing stories of how this epidemic reminds them of earlier times in history when hard times swept the nation. World War II, The Great Depression, the spread of polio. I find comfort not only in hearing their perspective but also in being reminded that they survived!
A number of stories have come my way that offer pandemic perspective. Two pieces I recommend you reading are:
Polio Survivors Offer Pandemic Perspective - Several people are speaking out about what it was like to live through the paralysis-causing polio scare of the 1940s and 1950s. There are eerie similarities to this pandemic. The article is an interesting read.
C.S. Lewis’s “Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays” - C.S. Lewis wrote during times when the threat of an atomic bomb was very real. This is an entire book where he deliberates on contemporary issues, and as author Matt Smethurst said - just replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus” in the italicized paragraph below.
And side note. How I love and hope our family is living this out. 👇Though I don’t think we’ll all be “destroyed” by this virus, the sentiment to keep on living well and big is wonderful. Just replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus”:
“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” -C.S. Lewis
In other words, keep on living and even (even!) enjoying life as much as you can.
Rooting for you,
For more content like this, follow my writings on social media (Instagram and Facebook) and on my website kimcaifano.com. Or hire me to coach or speak to your audience.