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Not a Burden, but a Blessing. Reflections of 2020…

Something about a year that is both epic, terrible, dreadful, life changing, and memorable to the entire world, yet it became a year of forced reflection for me and so many others. I don’t always see that as a bad thing. I am going to list both for my future self and for anyone who might just need to hear it…My Top 10 Journal Entries for 2020. My brilliant and beautiful friend, Brandi, was photo journaling her girls throughout the quarantine and asked me if I was writing. I was indeed, but when someone asks you this like they expected it from you, you tend to kick up the commitment.  So, here are some excerpts from my Captain’s Log – Corona 2020. 

  1. I see how we all made both sacrifices and adjustments for each other now that we are doing all of our living from home. I see a compassion for finding spaces that are useful and meaningful. We attended ‘bedside baptist’ today as we have come to know it and Tate prayed for his friends in the foreign exchange programs. It is a burden on his heart. They may not be able to make it home when they had planned. It amazes me what our children will worry about and remember from this time. It is so important to support each other right now. 
  2. In February, before the Earth seemed to shift, I started my masters. I didn’t tell anyone. After the Spring Break shutdown, my boys just think I am always doing classwork for my teaching job. It is so much harder in that regard, as I am now attempting to keep 140 students engaged in an online platform they weren’t trained to be a part of, while motivating my own children to stay positive, and actually writing papers for my masters classes. LOL! I have bit off a lot here. Finding refuge in having nowhere to really go. Being home and pouring myself into all of this…oh, and housework…oh, and teaching someone to drive…oh, and I have a senior!
  3. Today was hard. I am not going to lie. Found out that a lady I work with has been dealing with this virus. Her mom has been admitted to St. Francis and it doesn’t look good. It makes me so nervous and scared for her and her family. For all of us. We also found out today that there will more than likely be no school the rest of the year. No prom. No graduation ceremony. No All-State game. No..No..No. It is a rough reality we are facing and yet it seems so selfish to even be upset about it. 
  4. It is becoming harder to feel productive and helpful in my own home. My boys are very independent and it can be lonely. Being a widow typically has zero advantages, but based on all of the griping about excessive togetherness and failed marriages during this year I guess I am supposed to count my lucky stars. Oy! 
  5. March 25…Randy, my best friend’s dad who has been battling cancer, is coming home today. This is both a good and a bad thing but was made possible by the compassion of the staff and therapists at his care facility. Heroes!!! The end is too near. Tate found out today that his high school season is officially over. He fields so many calls throughout the day and texts from his teammates and friends who are losing it. He hasn’t really had time to lose it himself. Kassidy came over and so I made chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. Comfort foods for kids who don’t really even eat sweets. We will get through it but it is so hard for these kids to feel like they got cheated. 
  6.  Wyatt and I attended a send off to honor a soldier who had fallen in Iraq. We grabbed breakfast (our first drive thru experience) and waited on the side of 46th street N by the base for him to come by. There were thousands of people. We waited for hours and didn’t care. He gave his life.
  7. Mandi texted me to tell me to come on out to see her dad if we wanted. Corona or no corona. I had a very urgent feeling all day about him. While I was there, his breathing almost stopped. Mandi, her mom, and Kendra gathered around the bed and were begging him to breathe. They hooked some oxygen back up and we physically lifted him up as high as we could in the bed. They asked me to call the hospice nurse back out and someone called Levi to tell him to hurry. Chloe teared up and climbed in my lap, then Savana took her outside. As soon as I knew the nurse was on her way and I checked on Chloe, I told Chris I was going so the driveway would be clear for everyone and they could have their time. I prayed that Levi would make it. I hadn’t been home 20 minutes and she let me know that he was gone. Levi made it and he went peacefully. I am left remembering just how he pushed his kids to be their best, they pushed him and loved him enough to coach him through breathing and waiting for Levi. I have witnessed something today that I will never forget. True Love.
  8. Started distance learning on a Monday, 46 texts to families I hadn’t heard from by Thursday. Being an elective teacher has really proven to seem insignificant during this time, but the students who love creating and bending their minds are keeping me going. I pray that teachers around the world know their worth. This situation is making this very hard. There is a very large number of people who love trying new things, having their students home, and supporting what their teachers are trying to accomplish from afar. Other parents are pulling their kids to other types of online platforms, calling teachers babysitters, criticizing the very lessons we plan because they hear us struggle to keep the entire class’s attention while online. This is a very good time for a facebook/social media break. My intentions are so pure with my students and I am pouring into them the best I know how at this very moment. Loving them where they are. Sending letters to their homes. Calling them. Whatever it takes to say hello, that I love them, and I’m thinking about them.
  9. In the last week, I have repaired a toilet seat, shower head, and planted a few flowers. We are having a step challenge with the 6th grade teachers and I have walked well over 100,000+ steps in two weeks time. Waving at my new neighbor friends that I have never met until now and that is a result of yelling across the streets to each other while we get our exercise. Wyatt got a new puppy finally. Her name is Annie and she brings a new life around here. Potty training, keeping Willow from treating her like a toy, and watching her grow. She’s a doll and as much as he wanted a dog to sleep with him, she sleeps with me so far. Lol. He wasn’t really into getting up in the middle of the night after all. We took a Covid road trip to Kansas to get her and she’s been worth every bit of the hype so far! 
  10.  We are coming so close to the anniversary date and I try not to dwell on it, but it is so hard not to. The days leading up to losing Shane were just so normal. Loving life on the little Farley Farm and enjoying Spring there. Getting in a real groove of happy, content life. I just can’t deal sometimes. Then, as if she read my mind, Elo shows up with a card and some distance hugs. She loves my boys and me and I am so grateful for friends who aren’t afraid to acknowledge the hurt. Yesterday, I had my first ORU parent meeting! NUTS! Shane would be flipping out! I loved it.

I only made it to May and my journaling slowed as we entered the end of school craziness. I will never share my journals from the beginning of the Fall semester when we found out we were back online. They mostly consist of trying to find a way to soften parent’s hearts toward our administration for making that choice and some include some not so nice things that were said to me in passing by parents. Words matter, people! Even when we are adults. So many other highlights…Tate was part of an amazing graduation commencement speech, Lane is a licensed driver, my little sister married a beautiful man on the side of a mountain in Arkansas, some epic moms pulled off a prom, my niece is pregnant with her 2nd, Lane tore his ACL and has battled out an epic suck of a year like a champ, Wyatt made the Jr. High golf team after deciding he was just going to go for it, my brother and family moved to Florida, my precious work son had his first child, I am now just a few classes away from having my masters and finally told the boys what the heck I was up to, Tate is living his dream and thriving with a 4.0 his first college semester and gearing up for soccer season number one as a college athlete, we had some amazing visitors when everyone thought it was safe, my nephew married a jewel of a gal, and we still managed to make it to Big Cedar once during this unprecedented time. We have fished, been to the museum as often as safe, hiked, biked, walked, kayaked, golfed, baked, tried new recipes, read amazing books!!! I survived my 20th wedding anniversary without my love and went out of town by myself to see some artwork in person just because I wanted to celebrate. I have a dream team of friends who will pray for the smallest of needs at a moment’s notice and together, we have made it! We have loved each other through it all and will continue to do the same. My prayer is that I never look back at this year like it was in any way a burden, because when I read back over pages of journaling I realized that it was the farthest thing from that. It was a blessing. 

Published by jjofarley

Mother of 3 handsome boys, we lost our main man suddenly on April 27th, 2015. We are grace-filled believers that are a walking example of God's love. I teach 7th graders STEM and chase these boys to every sports field I can!

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