Living through a Global pandemic has been anything but easy. I think I’ve experienced every emotion possible, sometimes all in the same day. Second and third, guessing decisions became the norm. It’s not something that I would ever choose to do again, but some unexpected benefits have come from it and the decisions we made.
Of course, spending more time together as a family has been a wonderful benefit. That benefit, however, was expected. I knew we would spend a lot more time at home since we would be careful. It’s the things that I was dreading that caught me off guard. The decisions we agonized over. Those things turned out for the better.
The unexpected benefits are the ones that have really made a lasting impact. They have given me some confidence in my decision-making ability.
I’m not saying all the choices we made are right for everyone, but they are what worked best for our family.
So, here are a few of the decisions we struggled with and the unexpected benefits they brought our family.
We let our oldest play an organized sport this summer.
After months of isolation and way too much screen time, we let our oldest son play baseball. He was so lonely during virtual learning; he needed some contact and normalcy over the summer for his mental health. The organization we chose had some great safety precautions in place, and overall, baseball is a pretty socially distant sport.
I’ve never enjoyed watching baseball. My only reason forever going to a game used to be for the snacks. This summer, though, I learned to love it. Seeing the joy it brought my son and the improvements he made throughout the season brought me an unexpected affection for the sport.
We sent our kids back to school but opted out of taking the bus.
Our district decided to go back face to face five days a week, after a hybrid soft start. With the numbers in our community being OK and the precautions the district had taken, we felt the benefits outweighed our family’s risks. However, to cut down on contact, we decided that I would drop off and pick up the boys every day.
I’m lucky that my work schedule allows this. If we could cut down on contact not only for our boys but for other families that need the bus, this is something I would do.
However, school drop off/pick up used to be my worst nightmare. The lines, the waiting, and just the stress of it all is something I would struggle with. So, I was definitely not looking forward to it.
Surprisingly, it has been great this year.
Even though there is an increase in commuters, the school has a staggered plan that really works. We also never have to rush out the door in the morning. We have an extra half hour when compared to our previous bus time. There’s no stress about missing the bus or tears at the bus stop.
Instead, we all pile in the car when we’re ready. The boys are pretty quiet in the morning, but it’s nice to have that extra time together. When I pick them up, they all tell me about their days. There’s no rushing for snacks or video games because they can’t. I have a captive audience.
We added to our family.
This is probably the biggest decision we made, but it’s also been the biggest unexpected benefit. We got a puppy.
My husband has been set against getting a pet for as long as I can remember. I think the uncertainty of what this winter may bring coupled with the fact that our children are getting older helped to change his mind.
Obviously, our new bundle of fur has brought us tons of love and companionship, but he’s also had some unexpected benefits.
He’s made us really slow down and enjoy the moments. Puppies get into everything and need a lot of attention, so instead of trying to do twenty things at once, sometimes you just have to play and snuggle.
Plus, when you do need to get things done, you have to be strategic about your time. A puppy can’t be left alone for very long, and he also doesn’t sleep through the night. So, that’s led to a lot of earlier bedtimes, which is fine with us!
I’m really not sure if we would have ever made these decisions if not for the situation we’re in. I won’t say I’m glad we had this pandemic, but I am happy about the outcomes we’ve had from these decisions.