Pandemic & School Year End Lessons Learned

In-person schools closed last March in response to the pandemic. We adjusted to work from home with competing priorities, including health, safety, work commitments and school for our boys. We also faced a national reckoning against social and racial injustice and inequality. Our global community navigated public health issues, fear, chaos, stress, and exhaustion, especially in anticipation of a Covid-19 vaccine. As we hope and prepare for the post-Covid world, lessons learned include the value of attention, compassion, and practice.

To be mindful of CDC recommendations and stay-home guidelines, we decreased our social circle. We spent a lot of time with family, especially until our boys returned for in-person school in September of 2020. To be safe, the school community adapted with masks, temperature checks, social distance, and lots of hand sanitizer. Throughout this cautious time, the resilient administration, staff, teachers students, and other families at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy in Chicago continue to wow and inspire our family.

In line with Center for Disease Control recommendations and regulations, we wore masks for our youngest’s First Communion and throughout the pandemic until the mask mandate just ended. We worshiped without the traditional school choir and extended family due to restricted occupancy rules.

First Communion 2021

The pandemic’s public health recommendations guide world citizens to practice common sense hygiene precautions against the constant backdrop of climate change. Pandemic quarantine disrupted auto-pilot for many who may ignore social and emotional wellness, cold symptoms, and allergies. While our workplace setting in a downtown Chicago office surrounded by skyscrapers shifted 15 months ago, other coworkers, parents and I continue to meet work deadlines and juggle competing priorities. We pay attention to reimagine and work toward a better reality that values access to vaccines, justice, democracy, and childcare to name just a few essentials. We strive to be effective communicators, which includes our loved ones albeit some inevitable mishaps.

As the late American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou explained, people remember how you make them feel.

My parents’ garden near Wrigley Field

We stumbled during the pandemic just like always, but strive to cultivate a foundation of love and compassion to be receptive to change when needed. We reflect on social issues.

We thrive as part of a community, especially as we shift to rebuild the global economy with sustainable progress. Many aspects of big technology and business grapple to be more accountable as we learn from current failings. We try to be more intentional, open, and thoughtful about plans. Our family made our first summer bucket list. First on our list is a visit to Chinatown with my Mom. Next, we’ll tour Green Bay with my husband and boys, avid fans.

Although we navigate sadness and grief, we also celebrate new beginnings. We applaud Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy’s outdoor safe and social distanced activities, including the recent school musical. We admire puppies, babies and neighbor kids that grew up during the pandemic. This last year-and-a-half, local parish steeples tower over my neighborhood garden walks. My boys joined my gym Lakeshore Sport & Fitness, which meant a fun family day at the pool this weekend, outdoor and indoor basketball plus continued yoga, spin and tabata high-intensity interval training for me.

Best wishes for a safe summer!

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