I Lost my Happy.

2020.

Twenty – twenty.

I don’t know which way makes a bigger statement. Well, whichever it is – read it that way. This year has been something else – to say the least. But what I want to talk about, is how I lost my happy place. Because I dare bet, if I feel this way, others do too. And sister (or brother), you aren’t alone.

I am talking about my home. Now, I am an essential worker, so during the pandemic – I went to work everyday. I am super grateful for that. I had my job, my paycheck, whole nine. So I didn’t lose my physical home, but I lost what was my place of peace. The place that I go to and relax. The place where I am happy to be. The place, where there is laughter, gratitude, and family. My home made me proud. It was private spot. Very few people have ever came to my home. I revere it. So if you have been in my home, you are special, LOL! But honestly, I wanted my kids to feel loved and protected in their home – and most importantly safe and happy.

My safe place turned into a bunker. An armory. A place to hide. While at home, I saw my kids plans fizzle out the window. A trip to Chicago – dashed. A trip to Austria – gone. Playing with their friends? Nope. Going out to dinner? Shut down. Home didn’t become a safe place of happiness – it became a bunker. Don’t get me wrong, if we are at war, an underground bunker is what we all want, right? I’d be jumping into that sucker before anyone. But during this – when you are starting to be afraid of the outside? That doesn’t seem too homey.

It started out fun, right? Like – no school. Or no “real school”. It was almost like summer started a little early. But then we got into it more. We couldn’t go to the parks. No family weekend fun exploring our city. We became four people – living under one roof – in our own rooms. My youngest two started bickering more and more. My youngest – was sad. He wanted to play with his friends. He wanted to go to school. He wanted to go.

We took for granted running into Starbucks and getting a coffee on Saturday morning. Even that seemed scary and diffiuclt. There were so many unknowns. Memorial Day – happened at home. Fourth of July – happened at home. Birthdays? Yep. You guessed it. Home. Home turned from a safe place to a makeshift jail cell.

Now? Home is school. Home isn’t home in our family’s sense. I want to speak to all the single parents out there, also. Especially the ones with little kids. I am sorry. I hear your struggle. I am praying for you. This is hard enough for me, and I have a support system. My job is amazing. My daughter who is doing virutal school also is 17, so she can help the 10 year old. I have cameras in my house so I can observe. My co -workers understand my plight. I cannot imagine. CANNOT IMAGINE. How scary it would be to have kids virtual learning – and really feeling as if you pick your kids or working. This is a decision that some parents are having to make.

On the flip side, I see a lot of parents being allowed to work from home. Creating learning stations in their homes – complete with laptops, markers, paper. Shoot, it looks like Chip and Joanna designed these learning stations! And these folks are relishing in the opportunity to spend more time at home. Time with their kids. And are ready to do this home school thing. And some of my friends who are seeing this as their new normal, that plan for this to be a lifestyle change – has said that they didn’t appreciate being home before. I think that is the issue for me, I did.

People like to talk about new and exciting things. Positive things. I am one of those people.

We like to talk about how something that was once bad, yes has turned into something beautiful.

We like to talk about the fear, the scariness, but how we have overcome. And now? We can speak positivity into our situation.

Not a smile. A smize.

We like to smile, and see the learning centers, and relish in the small successes in the pandemic.

While these are all amazing things, they can leave some of us, who are still struggling with the messy parts feeling like they’re “ungrateful” or “weak” or “a bad parent” because they can’t handle it as gracefully.

And I see you.

I see those who can’t see the bright-side still, even though they are trying so hard. Some folks came out of this situation better. Some came out a little bitter.

I see all the tears. The sobbing guilt as you leave your kids to fend for themselves because you have to work. The tears of your children who want to just play. I see the tears that you cry in your closet so no one else in your home sees them. I see the tears you cry – because you read the posts that say, “HOW ARE PARENTS SENDING THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOL! THEY ARE SO SELFISH!?” and “WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A KID WEAR A MASK! IF THEY NEED MASKS, THEY SHOULDN’T BE AT SCHOOL!”. I see you cry, because you only want what is best for your family. But every choice you make – you get disapproval from someone.

This is what home schooling has looked like. Crying. While I watch through a camera. Helpless. Not a cute desk. On the end of my bed. Messy as can be. Big Blue Button Crashing. Zoom Crashing. And we were both in tears.

I see the anger. The hair pulling. Teeth clenching. Sitting in your backyard just wanting to run away as far as you can. From everyone. No, not everyone. To a time machine. Forward or backwards. Either one. Because one more minute of this seems too much to bear.

The pandemic is ugly. The injustices are ugly. Getting through this psychotic time does not have to be beautifully poetic. It just doesn’t.

You are strong. You are resilient. You are still going. Don’t let Facebook, society, or anyone – make you feel ashamed or less than because you didn’t maneuver your way through this the way people think you should.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

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