I survived this...even with a "Vivian".
Well THAT was quite the hiatus!
I cannot believe my last post was back in March, and even more than that, I can’t believe that we’re already nearing the end of October!!! How is that even possible? I know that 2020 for so many has felt like the never ending year but for me, I have been so unbelievably busy, that in a way it has flown by in one giant blur!
Since March my life has taken such a big change that I really don’t even know where to begin on trying to explain it all and frankly, I think I would get the record for THE longest blog post in history if I tried to explain it all here. So breathe a sigh of relief with me that I am not planning to try and detail it all here. I will though give an abbreviated version of the main events… and there’s a lot of them… that have transpired for me since my last post. I share this all with you now so that moving forward you will have a clue of what on earth I am talking about in future posts since pretty much every area of my life has changed since March.
A little back story for those reading who are not aware, my dad is a Pastor of a church here in NY and he has been Pastor here for the past 26 years. I grew up in this church and attending it’s private school during my middle school and high school years. Once I was grown and out of school I started working in the church’s private school and then eventually in the church/school office. I joke that I have had my hands in literally every area of this church and school and the only thing left that I haven’t done is translate the services into Spanish… and thank God I haven’t gotten overly confident at trying my hand in that ministry. Mainly because I’d have a hard time not using that opportunity to prank my dad by translating his words into ridiculousness… and also because I know like three words in Spanish. All joking aside, when you grow up a Pastor’s Kid you pretty much have no choice but roll up your sleeves and help wherever and whenever so your experience in church ministries is pretty vast.
In more recent years, I had become the Administrative Assistant and pretty much ran the day-to-day operations of both the church and the private school. Then came Matt. When I met my husband I slowly started to phase out of my bigger position at the church to instead work from home in a much, much smaller scale while also watching my nephew full time, and then eventually adding my other nephew and my own two kids to the mix. Listen, after spending 6 years at home home with 4 little terrorists and two dogs, changing all those diapers, everyone in my life knows not to try and make any remarks in front of me about how “easy” stay-at-home moms have it.
After 6 long years of my baby-goo-covered days it was finally time for my nephews to start school, my daughter to start at our church’s preschool, and my son, Benjamin, to return home from the church’s preschool to start Kindergarten at home with me. As a child I was homeschooled, private schooled, and public schooled. I never saw myself homeschooling my own kids but Matt was actually the one to push the idea of homeschooling our kids and once I fought through the initial hesitation, I was all in and couldn’t wait! So in September 2019 we started our homeschool journey and it was so fun! We had such freedom to go learn in our back yard, or at the playground, or even at Disney World for 6 weeks when Matt’s job sent us there! 2019 was my year and 2020 was looking to be even better for me!!
In March, our world here in NY pretty much shut down. My husband’s job was considered essential so he was still going into the city working side-by-side with people who were testing positive with Covid-19 left and right, but thankfully Matt never got it- that we know of. I was home with the kids as usual so nothing really changed for me while all my friends were freaking out because they were suddenly thrust into homeschooling. Really, the only change for me was I was regularly grocery shopping for 5 different households since our older and immunocompromised friends and family were encouraged to stay home. I really did okay though and I kinda enjoyed all the grocery shopping trips. It was stressful worrying for Matt and my loved ones who were more at risk but overall things were really good for me…
...and that peaceful time lasted for like three weeks…
You see, about three weeks into a near complete shutdown here in NY one of our church’s office staff handed in their two week notices, and the other office staff member did the same two weeks later. So we went from an office staff of 3 to an office staff of ME at just the start of this pandemic. Now you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal if everything was shut down?”. Yes, our church and school doors where shut but our ministry and work continued as a church’s doors never truly close. So how on earth do you find, interview, hire, and train new staff members in the middle of a worldwide pandemic? You don’t. I mean, on Easter we didn’t even get together with my parents since we all were being so careful here in NY to stop the spread, so how on earth are we going to expect people to come into an office for an interview and training?
It was a mess and I basically I went from working one smaller position (from home) in an office of three to being the only office staff member carrying three different positions. I worked alone in the office 6.5 days a week from April through August. I finally was able to bring on a secretary at the end of August, but after about a week of working she was forced to stay home when her kids’ school decided at the last minute to go completely virtual for the first two weeks of school. Talk about a difficult time for working parents!! I’m blessed that I could bring my kids with me to work, but how many parents don’t have that luxury? So tough!
So over the last 7 months I had to instantly learn how to record and stream Sunday services, study and put into motion all of NY State’s mandates for both religious organizations and private schools, I had to close out a current school year where I knew none of the families or how the school had been operating in more recent years, I had to organize a wake and funeral of over 200 family and friends hoping to pay their last respects with a capacity limit of only 60 in the building, I had to organize drive-in style parking lot services and eventually figure out a system for us to return to meeting for two Sunday morning in-person services but with all the mandates and restrictions NY State has put on churches, I had to start a new school year under absolutely unreal mandates and regulations from NY state and start the school without our secretary, who thankfully re-joined us a few weeks later,… and I had to do all of that, and much much more, with my 4 year old and 5 year old trailing behind me or sitting with me in my office since I didn’t dare send my kids to my parents because I couldn’t risk them getting sick. It was definitely a stressful time but all I can say is, thank God for His amazing grace because that, and my amazing husband who has been such an amazing support, are the only things that has gotten me through, and more importantly, gotten His important work done. Seriously. Some would come to me, who were seeing first hand all that I was having to do, and were asking me how on earth I was getting it all done and all I could do was give God the credit because I seriously don’t understand to this day how it all has worked out, and so smoothly, but it has. It’s been amazing to look back on and see how far He brought us through.
I tell you all of that not for the drama of it all and certainly not for the accolades, but to give you a better idea of just how crazy life has been at Wain Manor and why you have not heard from me. I will tell you though, if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that starting a new career as a travel agent and a private school administrator in the midst of a global pandemic is not the best idea! What are the odds??? I mean really. I start as a travel agent in January and by March the whole world had shut down, and school administrators everywhere are running for the hills rather than deal with all the stress of running a school during a pandemic & I’m over here like, “Sign me up!”. LOL! If you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?
I missed out on a lot this year, like many others have. I didn’t get to take my big trip to Tokyo Disney, homeschooling my son now looks very different than what I had pictured it to look like, and my life is much busier than I am used to, but I have such a peace through it all, and even more important than all of that, is that I am blessed to say that I didn’t lose a loved one from this virus. There are many that can’t say the same. My heart is with those who have lost a loved one, or a job, or maybe just the loss of a dream or expectation of where life was going to go until 2020 hit. They’re all different kinds of loss, but they are all still a loss and it’s been hard for each and every one of us. I find it so profound that my last blog post was titled, "You'll survive this..." and it was meant for me to encourage all the moms and dads suddenly overwhelmed by homeschooling and now I realize in a lot of ways it was just as much for me.
I’m still working basically 6.5 days per week, and dealing with Covid-19 mandates at both the church and private school is proving to be an uphill battle, but I have His peace and there have been such blessings for me along the way. One of those big blessings was when I was finally able to truly vacation in early October with my family in New England, since I ended up working during my Cape May “vacation” in August. Our New England road trip was a true vacation because we had next to no cell service the entire trip!! Talk about forced family bonding at just the right time.
I said all of that to say, I’m still here, I’m still vacationing, I'm still blogging, and I’m still planning all kinds of adventures for not just my family but others too. I am planning to write a mini-trip report on our New England vacation and I have some other exciting things coming up. Additionally, I still have to tell you guys the craziest nail salon story you will ever hear that happened to my mom and I just before the world stoped.
So thanks for being a patient follower and let the fun return!