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2020’s Lesson: How to Pivot and Shift Gears

As you may have learned from my blog, going with the flow is not my strong suit. That said, 2020 has forced me (and all of us, really) to practice “rolling with the punches” over and over and over again.

I really love knowing what’s going to happen, planning, sticking with a familiar and consistent routine, and so on. You get the idea. Spontaneous I am not.

So last year when the world shut down due to COVID-19 (and my precious routine went straight out the window), I about lost my damn mind. I know I’m not alone in this — we all did. And as much as I love my husband and three children, it would be nice to socially distance from them from time to time (just ‘sayin).

But here’s the amazing part. Back in March of 2020, we all learned that we’re capable of “pivoting” (please someone tell me you’ve seen the “Pivot” episode of Friends...! ). We may not like it (I really don’t), but we CAN switch direction on a dime if need be. We are flexible, and we are resilient… even if we don’t feel like it.

Suddenly there was distance learning, and a summer schedule that, once filled to the brim with daily activities, camps and family trips, suddenly became… blank. Wide open, vacant space to just be. There was a sudden change in childcare that rocked my family’s world. More pivoting. More shifting gears.

There was the hope of some form of in-person school in the Fall, only to learn through the media that — nope — back to distance learning we’d go. Pivot. Shift gears. There was the moment at the end of the summer when we got word my twins’ preschool didn’t have room for them anymore. What?! No! Pivot. Shift gears.

After switching them to their new PreK program and thinking about how amazing it would for all the kids to be at the same school, we made the last minute decision to move our oldest there, too. Ahh! Pivot. Shift gears!

Yet, through it all, the miraculous thing is that the kids, in true easy-breezy kid fashion, really have just rolled with it. They didn’t have to practice this skill that is so incredibly hard for me — they just do it. Learning from home? Great! Sounds fun. Staying home all summer? Yay! More time to play with each other and Mom and Dad. New school? Awesome! New friends to meet. Gotta wear masks at school? Cool — let’s pick out fun ones that match our outfits!

And then, just last week when we were directly exposed to COVID and I had to break the news that even though our whole family tested negative, we would still have to quarantine for two weeks in our home (no outdoor playdates or activities, and back to distance learning for school… ), not one of them was fazed. In fact, the twins’ faces lit right up: “We get to spend so much more time together!” They said. And though distance learning was a serious struggle last year, my oldest seemed genuinely exciting about being a “zoomer” in her classroom, and learning virtually for a while.

Of course I don’t know what will happen with school (and life!) in the future. The way things are going, our in-person school may very well move to distance by the time our 14-day quarantine is up. And even though I will struggle with it initially (as I always do when there’s a change), I will continue practicing 2020’s lesson of rolling with the punches and just… go with it. I will pivot and shift accordingly (with as few tantrums as humanly possible! ;-).

As for my kids? I suspect they’ll roll with it as they always do, finding the adventure and goodness with each new situation life brings their way. Interestingly enough, our roles are truly reversed; I learn more from those kids about flexibility and resilience than they could ever learn from me. (Though I suspect they get a hefty amount of humor and satisfaction from seeing me flail every time we have to pivot).

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