Unexpected Blessings in the Year of COVID

Very few people would argue with the fact that 2020 was, overall, a big, awful, stinky dumpster fire of a year! It has been so challenging in allll the ways and has required A LOT of self reflection. BUT… I’m generally an optimist and like to “look on the bright side” and “find the silver lining” and other such sunshiney cliches, so I’ve been trying to focus on the many, many unexpected blessings that my family has experienced this past year. 

My kids have gone to a very small Catholic school since my oldest was in kinder, and we love, love, LOVE our school and school community. It’s this wonderful little parish school with many families who’ve been there for several generations (not us. We’re newcomers all the way), and our community just feels like family. However, along with most of the rest of the country, in the spring when ‘Rona reared her ugly head we were stuck doing “distance learning” and it S U C K E D! Our sweet, wonderful teachers were working SO HARD and my kids are pretty adaptable little humans and they’re bright, smart, and all-around amazing (maybe a little mom-bias here, but seriously, my kids rock!), but it was so freaking hard! We managed to survive all 3 months of school that way, with lots of tears, patience, phone calls with teachers, and so on… but I knew we had no desire to do that again! So come August, when we still didn’t know if our school would be able to open, we made the choice to homeschool for this coming year. A lot of little things led to that choice, and maybe I’ll share that full story another time, but it was such a God thing and it’s led to such giant blessings for my family. 

My children’s relationships with one another have blossomed in the most amazing and beautiful ways. My twelve-year-old is frequently found entertaining his little brothers, ages 4 and 1. Before school shut down back in March, he was still a great big brother, but their relationships have strengthened and deepened during the past 10 (?!?) months of near-constant togetherness. Homeschooling has given us the opportunity to continue enjoying this time together, while all our children are still at home. My oldest is in the 8th grade and we are staring down the barrel of high school and with that comes this shift into lightning speed. I’m excited for all that lies ahead, but I’m also left a little breathless at the thought that we are just a few years away from our children growing up and beginning to fly the coop. I want to soak up as much of these years as possible… years when my babies are still all home together, learning and growing together. A year of forced family quarantine has really opened my eyes to how little time we have left like this.

The perks of homeschooling extend beyond togetherness too! I love the comfort of knowing that whatever weirdness the world throws out to the schools this year, my children’s education won’t suffer because of it. We’re able to have consistency without worrying about schools closing down again or struggling through distance learning. We’re looking forward to taking up some new hobbies this year too! We just started doing some online piano lessons recently, and are looking into options for other sports and hobbies that are still safely meeting in our area. The freedom in our schedule is such a fun benefit! 

All in all, dumpster fire or no dumpster fire, I’m intent on finding the good in this year. I’m working to cultivate a grateful mindset and keep focusing on the positive. After all, St. Paul urges us in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

I hope you’re all hanging in there too! What have been some unexpected blessings that have come your way this year? Please share with us in the comment section. And please know that you are in our prayers! ♡

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