The week of March 9th is one I will never forget. We had been talking about COVID-19 for a few weeks. Even with our travel it had come up. The first Friday of March there was a call with the Department of Ed and we also talked about the possibility of remote learning at our faculty meeting. But on March 9th it all became very real. Six staff members were out for various reasons and the anxiety level of everyone in the building went sky high. There were almost daily meetings to talk about what if scenarios. On Thursday morning we made the decision we would finish the week and go remote. The writing was on the wall and we were going to be proactive. On Friday, March 13 we had our last in person day of school. It was a half day and then faculty members stayed to get ready for online learning. Lockers were emptied and so much was unknown. Before the end of the weekend Boston made the same decision. MIT had already made theirs. All of us would be home – on lockdown for a quarantine with no known time frame.
We made dinner and hung out more. I ran school from the dining room. Brendan broke one of his braces and Chris had to fix it while on the phone with the orthodontist. We didn’t leave the house much but did support local businesses with take out.
Easter was very different – no Church. No dinner at my parents. We took an outside socially distanced picture for fun to commemorate the day. More and more things were canceled – the parade, the marathon, then the decision was made for the rest of the school year to be remote. Graduation and the Prom would not happen as planned.
Brendan took the opportunity to experiment with make up. He would sign on to classes with a new look every day. He decided he wanted to dye his hair. It was a great opportunity for a lesson – write a 5 paragraph persuasive essay and we would consider it. He did a great job. Changing hair colors became a new quarantine past time.
Speaking of hair and changes – Chris decided his new hairstyle would be a mohawk. He also from the beginning of the quarantine started more routinely walking each night and then running a couple times a week.
School eventually ended. It was a lot for all of us. For me it wasn’t really over yet – Graduation would be held in July. There was planning to begin for how school could reopen in the fall. My original plan was to only serve one year as the interim head of school but the lockdown in the middle of the search process meant another pivot.
Brendan’s birthday – his 13th – was a pandemic birthday. Some people began doing drive by parties to celebrate socially distanced. We tried something a bit different. We invited Bren’s friends from all his various worlds, to send video messages. Then we edited them together for him. We also had a balloon sculpture of a rainbow to decorate outside. Different friends stopped by to say hi during the day. We also got to go out on the boat all together. For his cake, Nana made a rainbow surprise cake. It was a fun way to celebrate and make the best of the situation.
Summer 2019 was a different kind of summer. Aidan did go back to work at American Provisions again. Visits with friends were always outside with masks. Brendan was not able to go away to camp as planned but he was able to participate in SLIP like Aidan did. His internship was at a hair salon! He had fun with new friends, creating a project and hanging out at the hair salon. It was, like everything else in 2020, all about making the best of the what was going on.
Chris has always liked kayaking. We got to have a kayaking date on the Charles. The best kind of social distancing! We tried outdoor dining a bit and there was lots of sitting outside watching people. Chris made a solo kayak trip one day that lasted several hours after a storm rolled in. It was a crazy storm but he was well prepared.
Our typical trip to York Beach was even different this year. It was not a beach day when we went. It was a bit cold and foggy. We played games outside and did a bit of shopping. It was not the same and we wore masks a lot.
Brendan worked on another persuasive essay – this one to re-design the kids room and get new beds. There room was repainted the same color and new beds were ordered. There’s been a lot of decorating and now their room looks like a college dorm room (minus the mini fridge). There’s still additions they would like to make but its funny to see them both when I open the door.
For Chris’ birthday we did something super exciting – got our licenses renewed and got real IDs. So fun.
My birthday – always the grand finale of the summer was never going to compete with last year’s trip. But I came up with something fun – a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck. Friends were invited to come get ice cream and then go to the beach to enjoy. It was a fun night!
By the end of the summer we were almost half a year into the pandemic. It was taking its toll on everyone. We all craved the old normal but it was not going to happen any time soon.