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Post Pandemic Life

“The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.”

- Ivy Baker Priest

Look at how strong we all are.

In our household, we have acquired quite a few new vocabulary words in the past 11 months. I asked my girls the other night. . . What are some words, phrases, or questions that stick out in your mind that you would not have known or heard frequently a year ago?

Here is what they came up with:

  • Pandemic

  • Zoom

  • Distance learning

  • Covid-19

  • Civil unrest

  • PPE

  • Masks

  • Social Distance

  • 6 feet apart

  • Hybrid model

  • Google classroom, Jamboard, Padlet, Nearpod, Epic, Pear Deck, Ed puzzle- and the list goes on with educational terms.

Frequently asked Questions and Phrases

  • How does this mask look with this outfit?

  • Where is my mask?

  • My sister took my mask!

  • A lot of talk about masks

  • Do we need to wash groceries before we bring them in the house?

  • Where is the hand sanitizer?

  • Is it safe to go to school?

  • Uggh, Instacart is sold out of toilet paper, paper towels, and clorox wipes!

We are coming upon the one year mark since our schools officially shut down in our local community due to Covid-19. March 13,2020 will forever be a day that lives in infamy in the Iler household. It was the last time our girls were in a classroom, it was the last time we drove out to Arizona to visit Scott’s family, it was the last time I taught in my classroom, it was the last time we went into a grocery store without the looming cloud that the “pandemic is all around us.”

So, as we approach the year mark, Scott and I were discussing what life will be like Post Pandemic. I notice that people can reminisce about what life was like Pre Pandemic, or what my students call the “Good Old Days” when they came to class, could sit on my overstuffed couch, and read a book from my class library.

I notice there is an exorbitant amount of chatter about Life During the Pandemic. Everywhere I turn, there is a news briefing about Covid-19, variants, vaccination updates, school updates, how to properly social distance, etc. This is where most of our time and energy has been spent for the past 330 days. And for good measure, this is where our brain power needed to be focused.

But, What do you envision after the Pandemic? Have you set goals of what you would like to do? Who you would like to spend more time with? What hobbies do you want to nurture?

I think I sound like a broken record to my children: I keep reminding them that they are living through a monumental time in history. Take action with your words, your talents, your beliefs and use them to help make positive changes.

When Scott asked me the other night what is something I want to do, the first thought that came to mind was to go camping. I know it might seem surprising that I didn’t say get a massage, get a pedicure, go out to dinner, (although all of those do sound heavenly) but I have missed the luxury of driving somewhere, being around others, and enjoying the simple pleasure of watching the night sky over a river, chasing crabs when the tide has subsided on the beach, or the excitement of freshly brewed coffee over the campfire at sunrise. More importantly, I miss the people I enjoyed camping with. With that goal in mind, I decided to do something with my daughters that I had not done in awhile.

Pumpkin muffins bring back Iler memories.

Rebecca and I decided to bake homemade pumpkin muffins. These are the traditional muffins we bake the night before we go on a camping trip. She had such a big smile on her face while we prepared the ingredients and stirred the gooey mess. As the smell of pumpkin spice wafted through the living room, Hannah asked me what the special occasion was. I wonder if that baking brought her back to the memories of when we would prepare for our family adventures.

The morale of our home boosted, the girls started talking about places they want to visit after the pandemic, and hobbies they want to start up again.

Their list consisted of going away to summer camp, taking up rock climbing (Rebecca), taking up Karate (Hannah), volunteering at the Unity Center (Rebecca), volunteering at the Humane society (Hannah), taking trips to visit family (all of us).

This was a spontaneous conversation that came from baking muffins. It set the mood for what do we really want to do when we can move forward.

This conversation enlightened me on my children’s interests, hidden talents they want to foster, who and what they value.

Pandemic Life is not going to be here forever. We will enter a Post Pandemic Life and it is time to start sowing the seeds of change you have had time to reflect on. As a parent, as a professional, as a wife, as a friend, as a family member, as an individual, I had to think critically of what I am going to take with me during this Pandemic Period, what am I going to leave behind, and how am I going to grow. It took some time, a hike on the hillside, a couple cups of coffee, and some weeding in the orchard to think about this. Guess what?

I can’t wait to see the Post Pandemic garden bloom. I can envision so much color and beauty. Can you?

Scott and Erin Iler envision the garden in full bloom.

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