It's hard to believe that it's already been a year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and our world as we knew it was shaken up and completely changed. Today marks the one year anniversary of the day that my kids were last in their kindergarten and 4th grade classrooms. What started out as two weeks of home learning (fun!) turned into three weeks (yay, longer spring break - but nowhere to go), and then the rest of the school year was finished remotely, ending with the teachers parading through the neighborhoods, waving to their students from their cars (is this real life?!). It was just surreal. I have been reminiscing and reflecting on this past year over the past few days, and talking with my kids and husband about the highlights, challenges we have overcome, and the memories. I usually do this type of reflecting as we approach the new year or on my birthday, but as pictures and posts have been popping up in my social media TimeHop and stories, I'm taken back to where I was a year ago... the activities and events we had planned, people I had planned to visit, vacations we were excited to take, goals I was excited to tackle and determined to accomplish. And then everything changed.
We were flooded with so many mixed emotions. I remember how scared we were in the beginning. Scared to get sick, scared to get our loved ones sick, scared to step out of our homes, or even to touch the mail. There were so many unknowns at the time. We were glued to the news. How many cases today? Is there a cure yet? I finally had to turn off the TV, stop focusing on the things that were out of my control (really hard as a control freak), and start focusing on what I did have - my family. Once I just surrendered and let go of the need to control, I began to see the little blessings that were all around me. My husband and I started writing gratitude lists and shared them with each other throughout the weeks, or whenever we felt ourselves stressing about the world. It's amazing what magic can come of writing down what we are grateful for - even if it's as simple as the taste of real cream in your coffee (I had gone a month with no cream, so this was on my list). As I read my gratitude lists from this past year, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, and am reminded of so many of the tiny happy moments that otherwise would have been forgotten, had I not written them down.
It was hard for me to pick up my camera in those first few months. I was sad to have to cancel sessions that were supposed to take place, and I was worried about paying bills when my husband and I were both out of work (he works in the live entertainment/events industry). But then, almost the whole world was in the same situation, and I knew we would be ok. When I realized that, it actually felt good that for once in our busy lives, we had nothing on our schedules, and nowhere to go. I decided instead to use my (old) iPhone and start a video diary of our time together. As a highly visual person, I knew that having pictures and videos of our family would help me remember the highlights of each week at a time when every day felt like "groundhogs day". Even though they are very far from being technically perfect (from a photographer's standpoint), and my house is a disaster in almost every video, these videos were something my family would get excited about watching at the end of every week, and they will be cherished forever. They are perfectly imperfect!
Take a look!
Week one - The initial excitement of "homeschool"! I understand this was nothing like real homeschool. This was when remote learning was actually fun for all of us, and we cleared our family room for morning dance parties!
Week 2 - We loved to be able to take walks and bike rides in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, the first week of spring. You can tell my kids are Michiganders - it's over 40 degrees, so it's shorts weather. Lol!
Week 3 - My baby learned how to ride a two wheeler!! Woohoo! That girl was determined! After seeing her cousin learn the day before, she woke up that morning and said, "I'm learning how to ride a bike today!", and she got to work! We also started zoom dance classes this week.
Week 4 - Spring is in the air! With the weather warming up, we enjoyed more time outdoors, and our 1st bonfire of the year. We colored Easter eggs, had an in-home Easter egg hunt, and after celebrating with an Easter dinner for four, I got together with a group of my girlfriends that I hadn't seen in years for a ladies night over Zoom!
Week 5 - You can tell this is Michigan! The week started with snow and ended with water balloons in bathing suits! It also included a build of the most epic family fort!
Weeks 6 - 7 - Our energy was definitely shifting in these two weeks. It finally started looking like spring outside, and we had lots of energy to burn. We bought an Instant Pot and enjoyed cooking together and trying new recipes, as well as family game nights. My husband got a haircut from our (then) 5 year old (she did a pretty good job), and we ventured out for the first time in months to Walmart!
I know I probably drive my family crazy, always taking pictures and videos, but I'm so glad I took the time to create these (they really didn't take that much time anyways). I started slacking on the weekly video compilations once life started getting a little bit back to normal, but I still have plenty of footage. So in time, I will continue. I've got quite a bit of catching up to do!
Comment below and let me know what your highlights were this past year. What did you do to keep sane during this crazy year?