Tomorrow is the first day of in person school for my kids. 358 days ago we had no idea that it was going to be the last day of normalcy. We had no idea that 2 weeks of no school would turn into a month of no school, followed by the announcement that the school year was over. We didn't know that virtual schooling would be something they'd do for a month before summer.
We didn't know the parks would be wrapped up to prevent usage. We didn't know that the pool wouldn't open or swim team would be canceled. We didn't know masks, travel and time with family or friends would come to an abrupt end (or pause).
So tomorrow, my kids will walk into their new schools, masks on their faces and the necessary items in their backpacks. No lockers, no more than 10 kids in their classes. This is clearly not what we expected.
In September, there were hopes of going back to school in January. We made the decision to tell our kids to not expect to go back, so when it DID actually happen, it was something to look forward to, not be disappointed if the date changed like it obviously did.
So tomorrow I celebrate! I've loved the time with my family, even in those "I'm sick of you" moments that have slowly been building. I'll take my usual first day of school pictures, I'll be nervous and excited for their first days at High School and Middle School. I'll walk them to the bus stop reminding them that the person who stands next to them will be just as nervous.
Yes, it's different and not what we expected, but it is a step in the right direction. We are resilient. This has been hard, but we made it this far!