The Year We Slept In

This last year has been tough for everyone. Some people lost friends or family members to COVID or something else, many people lost their jobs, parents had to deal with kids home 24/7, people did not see their relatives, many workers had to recreate their jobs remotely, essential workers still had to go to their place of work, and all of us lived in fear of this new virus called COVID 19. 

I heard this quote on NPR this week while driving (so I may be paraphrasing) that summarized the last year, “We have all had different experiences this last year but what we have had in common was trauma and suffering”. So true. 

Two of my three kids went to in-person school for the last time on March 12, 2020. My youngest has been in-person school since September (her school had a special waiver to do so) and tomorrow my other two go back to in-person school 13 months to the day that they last set foot in their schools. 

I wrote my first blog in a series about parenting during Coronavirus more than a year ago and said things like, “We found out 3 days ago that our kids are going to be off school and at home for 4 weeks.”; “Can we go to the dentist and doctor appointments that were scheduled in the next couple of weeks?”, “Can our kids see their friends?”, and “I think I’ll be working remotely most of the next few weeks” (see the full blog post here

I thought then that things would go back to normal in about a month and I had no idea that we would go into lockdown for ~three months and a year later two of our kids would still not all be back at school in person. 

Someone from work told me that as she was waiting to pick up her kids that last day of in-person school in March 2020, another parent said, “I bet they won’t go back this school year”. She said all of the parents standing there looked at that naysayer parent with shock, panic and maybe even a little disgust. What was said out loud was beyond their comprehension. 

For me, not knowing what would ultimately happen on the school front was probably best as I could not have processed that information at the time. 

There are what seem to be a million things that were hard but one positive thing that came out of the last year for us is that we all slept in more than we ever have as a family. Yes, we all stayed up later than we should have and us parents had many restless nights due to stress but we didn’t have as many places we needed to get up early to go to.

We didn’t have to commute to work, drive or ride bikes to school, schelp to activities before school or get up early on the weekends to rush kids to their various sports games.

Our older kids have learned to roll out of bed 5-10 minutes before class starts for distance learning. They just have to walk (or roll, if they are too tired) to the bathroom and then the other side of the bedroom to get to their computer on time. I know we should probably have made them get up earlier (and we are nice and usually deliver them breakfast) but that has worked for us and it allowed them to sleep almost an hour later than they did a year ago.

I get up earlier than everyone else but I still get to sleep in later than I did before COVID. I now take an hour to do things I want to do before anyone else is up like checking the news online, checking social media, writing blogs or a new book, taking my vitamins, feeding the animals, and walking the dog. It’s nice to have a quiet house for a while in the morning. 

Where we live in California, outdoor sports were allowed to start a few weeks ago. We were so excited for our kids to be able to be out of the house and see other kids that we overscheduled ourselves knowing that we would have two months of crazy but then we could mellow out again a bit this summer. 

In talking about some upcoming schedules, we asked nine-year-old Ellie if she wanted to do a Saturday swimming competition. She was excited until she heard that she had to be there at 7:45 am and that the swim meet was 45 minutes away. Then she looked at us in horror.

Yesterday seemed almost pre-COVID. We had a 9am softball game for Ellie, 1:30 pm soccer game for Lucy and a 3:30 pm lacrosse game (one hour away) for Jackson. My wife does the hard work of coaching for two sports so I just get to watch. I loved getting my folding chair out of the car and setting up camp with my drink and snacks to watch the games. It felt almost normal again. I didn’t care that I got my temperature checked outside of the lacrosse game, that I had to strategically set up my folding chair six feet from others so I didn’t always have the best view or that I was wearing a mask the whole time. I just loved watching my kids play sports and that they got to be outside and have fun with other kids on a beautiful spring day. 

With sports happening again, sleeping in on weekends is now a thing of the past and our schedules are back to being as challenging as doing a rubik’s cube.  With all three kids going to in-person school starting tomorrow, they can no longer roll out of bed 5-10 minutes before class and I may lose some of my quiet time in the mornings. 

When the world fully opens up again and COVID hopefully becomes something that kids learn about only in school, we won’t remember the extra sleep we got in the last year but today I’m remembering it fondly and already missing it like a good book that I just finished. 

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