On March 13, 2020, my leader told me that we were all being sent home to work remotely until further notice. I was not surprised, since earlier that week, my team and I traveled together to another state for business, and couldn’t believe how quickly things were shifting across the nation. Suddenly, we realized that the pandemic was upon us. Going home was more of a relief than a surprise.
I became more comfortable working from home, and settled in to develop a new operating rythmn with both my family and my work team. At the end of April 2021, my company had a significant layoff that reduce our team from a headcount of nine to just three, and one of those positions was open. Going from nine people to two overnight was a shock (to say the least), and I felt deep grief mixed with survivor’s guilt over the wonderful colleagues we lost.
The show must go on, I thought, so I hunkered down and worked furiously to get a handle on my little team’s newfound workload and power through my emotions over a six-week period before my new leader was hired. From there, things began to improve and we settled to being a capable team of three. As of today, our little team works well together and we put out quality work, and I’m happy with where we’re at.
My initial relief at the start of the pandemic had by then extended to months of uncertainty and isolation. Even though my work was getting done at home, my extroversion was causing me to feel trapped. I grew sad, started seeing my therapist again and focused on doing things that brought me joy, including taking a drive, organizing my home, and prioritizing my own wellbeing whenever possible.
Through it all, I missed being with my friends and family the most. I began to see my family more, and that helped tremendously. After the first of the new year, I started seeing my friends more, and now that I’ve received my COVID-19 vaccines, I feel some degree of relief about spending more time getting back to my pre-pandemic routines.
I miss vacations and seeing my friends more freely, but I’m aware that the pandemic could have treated me much worse than it did. My husband and I remain employed, both work at home daily without killing each other, and our daughter is thriving at school.
Our dog is the only being in our house that stands to lose out. She’s going to be so lonely when we go back to our offices later this year, but that’s a small price to pay for our year+ of togetherness and safety.
During this time, my daugther has been at school, and continues with dance and soccer practices, aftercare activities and Girl Scouts. For her, life isn’t terribly different than it was before the pandemic began. She even managed to contract Tape Worm and share that joyous ailment with me, just like the good old days when she brought home pink eye and stomach flu. See? Not so different! Now, we’ve been treated and every item in our house has been cleaned and sanitzied, just as we experienced last year with those other child-shared illnesses. Ah, the joys of parenting, even in a pandemic.
Though the past year has been brought huge changes to our lifestyle and our family, but other things remain eerily similar. I’m grateful for all of it, though. It’s been a strange trip, but it’s taught me a lot about resilience, my ability to pivot and how to guide my family though rough and murky waters. I am grateful for becoming more aware of the spread of illnesses in my community and ways to keep my family safe, which will be valuable throughout my life.
I’m looking forward to this summer, when concerts start making a return, my daughter can attend summer camp and field trips again, and our ability to see friends and family will return, all with care and safety in mind. I wish you all the same.