It's a new world and I feel we are all still trying to figure out the rules. For all the parents out there, this next school year is going to be a learning curve. How do we make sure our kids get a quality education, put food on the table and keep the lights on without losing our minds? Not sure I have the answer for this, since I'm pretty much in the same boat. And the rules keep changing! There is no such thing as normal anymore. We're living in the wild west my friends.
I'm just making it up as I go. It feels kind of like when you leave the hospital with your first child and realize that it doesn't matter how many books you read or the piles of well meaning advise you've been given. This is your baby and you are going to have to figure everything out because someone forgot to give you the manual for this kid.
That's exactly what the upcoming September feels like. I "know" what my kids need, but I don't "know" what my kids need in this season. Are they going to be able to socialize enough? Will they find online learning frustrating? Will I? If they don't do well with their classes, is it my fault? How many smart high school or college students do I know and can I bribe them to tutor with pizza?
Our lives have already changed so much and now they are changing again. Some days are harder than others. Some days I wake up thinking I have the potential to do so much with my day and reinvent a piece of myself or explore something new. Other days I look at the clock and wonder if it's too early for a glass of wine! I feel like a human yo-yo.
I doubt things will ever really go back to "normal". The longer this goes on, the more I'm considering that we will need to make our own new normal. That has hopeful potential and difficult obstacles. Sometimes it easier to be overwhelmed by the obstacles, but let us not miss out on the opportunity.
Staying home all these months has made us stop and look around at our immediate communities. In a world of online connection and zoom meetings, we can forget that there is plenty of connection to be found right outside our front doors. And guess what? I bet a lot of them are asking the same questions you are. They use to say it take a village to raise a child and we have a moment to consider this in a literal sense. Your village may be as close as the cul-de-sac you live on. Your village gets to create their own space, schedule and rules.
In a world that is still trying to make up it's mind about so many things, we have the chance to strengthen the relationships around us and help each other with our burdens. Instead of listening to the non stop incoming stream from our phones, laptops and TV's, let's take some time to rediscover our front porches and the art of conversation with the neighbors. I'll bet we have more in common than we realize and I'll bet that my strengths can help in areas you may need a helping hand and vise versa.
This September, instead of leaving it up to the schools and the "experts", I'm going to make my own rules, my own connections, and build my own community. They live just a few doors down.
I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm determined to figure it out. It may be messy and I know I'll make my fair share of mistakes, but that is the nature of life. So embrace the mess, think outside the box, and take a look at what your own village could be.