When the pandemic broke out, everything in our life changed. Our definition of normal shifted. My usual busy schedule became a blank calendar. Some changes were an improvement, while others made me learn to dig deep to find ways to cope with hard changes. Coping became a daily goal.
I was substitute teaching when COVID hit. I worked the first days in early March, right before spring break. I didn’t know then that the break would extend into 2021. From an extra week of spring break to the cancellation of all the rest of my assignments for that school year, change came and stayed.
One of the first changes I made was adapting to the shortages brought on by the pandemic. When bread disappeared from the shelves, I bought yeast to make homemade bread. And then yeast became scarce. What is a person to do? Sourdough, yes, sourdough!
I was one of the millions of people who learned to make my own sourdough with a starter I got online. I learned to make bread, pancakes, biscuits, crackers and even English Muffins. I can tell you that is one change that improved my life!
My household refused to hoard, so finding toilet paper brought a new meaning to hunting and gathering. I started buying everything I could online, including clothes, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and just about everything else.
Another change was the way we stayed in touch with others. “Let’s meet for a cup of coffee” became “Let’s connect on Facetime.” Staying connected required learning to navigate virtual meetings. Family Facetime get-togethers morphed into a monthly classic movie night with our family in California. It gave us a new way to learn about our family.
Zoom connected me to work meetings and conferences. I virtually attended support group meetings and book clubs. When I eventually returned to the classroom, I connected with at-home learners through a virtual classroom. I even had doctor appointments by Zoom. Would I have rather done in-person teaching, meeting and connecting? Of course, but Zoom and Facetime allowed me to communicate while staying safe.
There were other changes like drive-by birthday parties, not going to theaters or other public venues, and canceled weddings and graduations. As we gradually get back to a sense of our previous normal, we can look back on the past two years as learning experiences.
I learned to adapt to the times, to be good company with myself and that staying home can give me the gift of time. What did you learn?
COVID provided time to connect with other parents and share ideas to help with these difficult times.