Well, I am certainly still giving myself some grace. I meant to be writing in this blog throughout the year, but the year seems to have slipped right on by while being busy with everything else in my life. Remember when we thought this year was never going to end? Some of that may be because the time spent trying to teach my seven-year-old in the spring made every 10 minutes feel like an eternity. But, when we returned to school in the fall (in person), it began to feel more normal, if still stressful. Fridays came way too fast and weekends were not long enough!
We left school for winter break on December 22, and this is the first semi-work related task I have done in the last week and a half. The physical experiences of stress are just now starting to fade. I am sure I will be hit with a tidal wave of it when we return to school on Monday, but I think my body will be ready to take it back on by then.
I think many (most/ all?) of you will join me in the anticipation of seeing 2020 in Hindsight. However, I think it is important to take time to think about any and all good that happened in the past year. If we hold onto those good thoughts from 2020 as we head into 2021, we may start 2021 with the positivity we will need to combat the parts of 2020 that will follow us into the future. (This pandemic is not over yet!)
But looking back, despite all of the out-of-my-control events such as the pandemic, the election, losing a friend (to cancer) and an aunt (to diabetes complications), 2020 held many events that were personally and professionally rewarding. We started 2020 helping my parents buy a car. In August, we purchased a new car of our own, refinanced the house, and paid off half of our unsecured debt. We were able to purchase a new dishwasher when ours quit, without adding to our debt. We had a wonderful Christmas in which we purchased a lot of new technology items, and those expenses are all paid off as well. My mom and I have started walking together every morning (via treadmill and phone calls--she lives in Ohio, while I am in Wyoming). These things are all fabulous!
Professionally, I started the year in January at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, spending time with my people--other school librarians--and looking forward to a fantastic year. In April, I was elected to the post of AASL President-Elect, and our virtual board meetings have been highlights of my time! The behind-the-scenes work that I did during the pandemic closure, as we worked from home did not go unnoticed, and when we returned to school, our Assistant Superintendent told the new teachers to seek me out with technology questions because I am a great go-to person. A few weeks ago, our Superintendent even told me I was indispensable and that she believes there are a lot more ways I will be involved with the district in the future. Also, fun masks have become a wonderful advocacy tool!
I know that my 2020 was way easier than that of many. I am very blessed. My heart hurts for those who were hit harder with COVID with job loss, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and loss of loved ones. They are always in my thoughts as I make decisions for my family and my learners. My purpose in sharing my joys is to encourage others to look back and search for those things in the past year, large or small, that brought joy, calm, peace, or comfort. There is usually something mixed in to all of the crazy. Find that, hold onto it, and carry those thoughts into the new school year.
This afternoon, I took a three hour nap. It's a Thursday. And, yes, I anticipate my supervisor seeing this post. I plan to share it with him.
I decided to start this blog today, almost three weeks into my district's closure for COVID-19, because I have been thinking about my role in this crisis and how to handle being a mom and librarian from home. My son is 6, so he does very few things on his own yet. Normally, he is at school while my husband, who is a special education teacher, and I are working. Now, those lines are blurred, as they are for so many!
I am a good school librarian, if I do say so myself. I am good enough to be friends (or at least acquaintances) with some of the best school librarians in the country. The good thing about this is that I can learn so much from these amazing people. The down side is that I compare myself to their greatness. I work diligently to provide resources, suggestions, and support for the educators and learners in my district, but as the only certified librarian in the district, my contact with students is limited. Now, as we work through this transition to digital/ remote/ crisis learning, I see great things my colleagues are doing, and I know that my work is still only a fraction of the depth of what it could be. That goes for both my librarian colleagues and my educator colleagues, who are now educating their own children and mine.
It is strange to admit, even to myself, that I am also a school library leader, both here in Wyoming and across the country. It is times like this that I question why. In the hours that I sit on my couch trying to keep up with emails, Zoom meetings, and the flood of resources vendors are sharing, the Imposter Syndrome really kicks in. It is then that I must remember that my colleagues have different jobs in different areas with different environments and different relationships with coworkers and learners.
I must give myself Grace. People say this all the time, but it is certainly easier said than done. What does this mean? I still have to work, teach my son, support my husband, be a mom, and take care of myself. It means I have to kick the imposter syndrome. It means I have to try not to envy what others are doing, but use their expertise when it fits. It means that sometimes I need to sit down and play with my son, read for myself, walk my dogs, take time to clean the house, call my mom, and let go a little. It means that I must allow my child to binge-watch Yu-gi-oh for the 100th time and spend an hour on "the triangle" (YouTube Kids) so I can get some work done. It means that when the stress of all of this change wears me out mentally and physically, I must allow myself to take a nap on a Thursday afternoon.