“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (Psalms 34:4)
The most talked about topic right now among parents is if/when/how our kids will return to school in the fall. There are so many facts, opinions, emotions, and fears driving our conversations. There are countless unknowns and endless expectations. Our schools are hosting town hall meetings, forming task force groups, and creating new curriculum in a world of constantly changing information.
Instead of basking in the sun of our less structured summer days, Moms are anxious to make a plan for what is to come in the fall. For once in my parenting life, I wish I could take a step back to bottles, diapers, and sleepless nights. I have never been one to miss the baby years, but having school aged children in a pandemic brings about its own sleepless challenges.
Because things are changing so fast, I have taken a back seat approach to indulging in the information. Pay no attention to me buckled in the backseat playing “I Spy” and asking, “Are we there yet?” I absolutely care what the return to school will look like, but waiting until the information becomes more certain means less day to day anxiety and spinning in my head. The uncertainty of this situation reminds me of a chapter in my book about my youngest daughter and her 100 day stay in the NICU.
In the book I wrote the following,
“During the first few days of my youngest daughter’s stay in the NICU, the reports from the medical staff were surreal. She was born at twenty-five weeks gestation and her condition was critical. My husband and I were uneducated and unprepared for the challenges she was facing. Among the daily medical updates were reports of blood in her urine, testing for brain bleeds, a hernia that would need to be repaired before discharge, a condition called ROP that could take her sight, and more. We visited the hospital multiple times a day and phoned in every four hours for updated information and any signs of progression and growth.
The unknown territory of a child needing twenty-four hour medical support was crippling. The first few weeks we wanted every detail of her condition. One positive update would bring us joy and four hours later another negative update could bring us panic. She was expected to be in the hospital until her due date which was three months away. As we settled in for her long stay, we had to change in the way we were handling the situation. We could not endure the next few months with this much fear and uncertainty. I could not control my daughter’s health and I could not function as a wife and mom to a toddler at home with so much anxiety.”
As a person who normally creates detailed back up plans for every scenario, in this current situation I have to intentionally choose to release my fears and my unknowns. I will consciously take one day at a time. I will choose to focus on the long and lazy summer days before they are gone. I will trust the experts working behind the scenes to create plans and solutions to keep my children safe. I will step into the driver’s seat when it is my turn.
Today, I cry out to my Heavenly Father to free me from my anxiety. I cry out to Him knowing that this too shall pass and knowing that life will move forward. I thank Him for the resources that we have to support us in this time and pray for those who are not so fortunate. I pray for single parents, dual working parents, parents of children with disabilities and health issues. I pray that I can release my expectations for what I wanted our year to look like and accept what is and what will be.
(Side note: I wrote this yesterday morning and found out during the day that our county’s health office has come out with new recommendations. Our school district will be making an announcement this afternoon after the governor holds a press conference. Things are still changing.)