Here it is my 366 photo project a review of our year 2020.
This year… I truly have no words how to sum it up. Like many, there were many ups and downs. I am so grateful to be here to ring on in 2021 .
I know the deep worry and sense of loss many feel… I sit with you. I also know and am not blind that 2021 won’t change instantly but it will gradually which shows there is hope.
It has been almost a whole year since I have posted a blog post. I have been bad with social media and not feeling inspired, struggling with inspiration, anxiety and all of the feels but that is ok.
2020 started off like most normal new years. I was pregnant with my son, and had a very high-risk pregnancy and recovering from surgery but I was anxiously awaiting his arrival so we could reset, see what was in store for us and start our journey celebrating a new unexpected life for us. I will never forget the day when I got the news that our school was going to shut down. I actually found out before many because I am a special Olympics unified coach and received a message from that national special Olympics I needed to cancel all games. That was March 9 (my son’s birthday) I remember walking to my principal’s office and they seemed shocked, wanted to confirm and then go from there. That was our first and last unified game. It was amazing though the kids crushed it, my son was my assistant and I remember seeing the worry in the refs eyes. A few days later we got the official word that school needed to shut down, and I needed how to figure out how to teach students with severe- moderate intellectual disabilities online… While also figuring out a way to teach my ed techs how to teach online. Please keep in mind we are not IT teachers, and many of my student’s goals are to attend to an activity for 30 seconds- 5 minutes.
I was due in 5 weeks and working 18 hour days, but seeing those faces on the screen made my heart explode, it was a hard journey, but I feel closer to my students and families more than ever because they see the real us. They have seen me telling my own children to get out of my office more than I can imagine, or my kids popping up behind my shoulders without me noticing for a few minutes. Those parents with kids with severe needs are true heroes. Runner up for heroic people… are Rourke and Onora. Their school stopped just like everyone else, but they had a mom trying to figure out how the hell to teach online and engage with her students. They sat with me, cried with me, brainstormed with me, and spent a lot of the time at my feet doing activities as I tried my best to navigate this. I still feel a lot of guilt that I did not spend as much time teaching them as I should of because I was focused on my job at hand. However, I am hopeful that they learned a lesson on how to support others in times of need.
Then Easter Sunday came… our little bunny named Tadhg joined us on this journey.
Tadhg’s birth is a whole other story, but all I know is that the day after I delivered tests became available and I got a call from CDC saying I had to get a test due to exposure. At first, I was so scared but now I have done so many I am totally ok with it. It just goes to show how we adapt to the unknown.
This is when the anxiety set in. Tadhg had some health complications we were working on along with me. Geoff was working so it was me and the three kids navigating this new world. With many dr visits and only Tadhg and I able to go Geoff had to stay home more than we had wished but we were doing it. He had a job which made us so grateful. This moment was when my army of woman surrounded me by providing meals and connection through our glass window. I am so grateful for all of those who sat with me talking and looking at me through a window to see my newborn it is something I will never forget.
As the months went on we lost weddings and many photo sessions but around the end of July it started slowy picking back up as people became accustomed to navigate in the world’s new norm. Then school started back up with many many new restrictions set in place, but somehow we have managed to teach face to face September – December. The worry of ending my maternity leave and starting up a classroom to students with severe to moderate disabilities many of whom struggle with hygiene, social distancing and mask-wearing, and ALSO struggle with online teaching. I was so worried about how we can pull it off. So far ( knock on wood ) they are crushing it and so is my work team, every day I am so proud of each of my students and their families. My classroom is going 4 days a week in person while my own children are on a hybrid model 2 days a week with alternating Fridays. I have felt a deep sense of remorse that I am not home with them supporting them as they navigate this year, but on the flip side, I hope they see the importance of good work ethic and the importance of helping others. Somehow we are pulling it off. It is not pretty, there have been many tears, way to much screen time, lack of motivation, lack of exercise, but we get up every day and keep plugging away.
This year’s photo essay started off strong and started to fall apart in the summer I can see when my anxiety started taking over and an iphone photo got the job done. I keep saying we are surviving but not thriving and that is ok.
Next year I hope to be more intentional with my photography for my personal use. To chase light and shadows to find all emotions, happy, sad, scared, content. BUT I also do not want to put on the pressure so much it increases my anxiety. It is time to find my spark again … I am hopeful.
2020 you taught our family a lot. The power of not giving up, to rise to the occasion, to be brave, to simplify, to connect with mother nature, to let go of things that would have caused us stress, to love each other, and the power of friendship in our marriage. Geoff thank you, we did it and we will continue to keep on truckin forward. I hope we can dare to dream and take chances in the years to come so we can mix things up a little. One thing is for sure we got lots of home tasks done this year we can not have idle hands. Rourke and Onora we are so proud of you and your flexibility and your ability to adjust and Tadhg you were sent to me to help me get through this year, you are the light that was given to our family. I hope to soon share you with other family and friends.
love and joy and hello 2021 can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces again!