Where were you …

Where were you the week before the world shut down?

I was out at my birthday dinner with my oldest friend nonchalantly asking “What do you think of this pandemic thing?” It was the last time I ate inside a restaurant for months.

Where were you the week before the world shutdown?

I was celebrating a surprise “party” (for me!) planned and thrown together by my class of 7 and 8 years olds a mere three days before I never saw them together again except over a screen.

Where were you the week before the world shutdown?

I was going to the grocery store to get a few items “just in case,” worried that my husband would think I was acting paranoid. He said, “I think this might actually be a big deal” to my relief.

Where were you the week before the world shutdown?

I was guiding students and families through an open house as news of closures pinged over my phone. No church Sunday, local college closed for an extended spring break, NBA shutdown.

Where were you the week before the world shutdown?

I was hugging my students one last time as I sent them out in a frenzy, full backpacks and calls of “see you in a few weeks” but worry in my heart that it would be the last.

This week feels especially heavy to me. It’s how I imagine pangs of grief feel as you near the one year mark. I think of those early days of the shutdown and remember how truly uncertain and scary it felt and honestly still feels.

I wonder about when I will get to go somewhere unmasked. When I can say yes to a play date for my son (and honestly for myself) without considering where I’ve been, who I’ve seen and how I might be spreading an infectious disease. When I can enter my classroom and give hugs to my students and spend more than 15 minutes in close proximity. I wonder what life will continue to be like because it will never be the same.

Where were you when the world shut down?

I was taking endless walks to the township building with a toddler who was obsessed with the trucks there. I was watching Cornell bird cams and wondering what school would look like for the spring. I was going on drives just to get out of the house and ordering take out on Thursdays. I was learning how to schedule our family’s days working full time and watching a 2 year old on a strict schedule. I was doing random house projects and learning how to vertically fold my clothes. I was picking up groceries and worrying about where I would get toilet paper. I was cuddling my husband in the dark whispering about how scary life was as we hunkered down in our home for endless days.

Where are you now?

I am still here, 365 days later. I’m preparing to go back to an *almost* full face to face model of school. I’m awaiting an email about getting the vaccine.

I am still here, the weight of this year pressing heavy on my heart. I am still here, astounded by all the unexpected I had to face and the flexibility I had to muster. I am still here, a tear rolls down my cheek as I think about how unsuspecting I was, how unsuspecting we all were. I am still here, I feel stronger, more thankful and more myself than ever before. I am still here, in this weird week before, in the disorienting space of this year that has passed. I am still here and I wonder about how to integrate who I’ve become with who I used to be, what this world has become with all that it used to be.

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