When the Familiar Feels Unfamiliar (Navigating Our New Normal)

Our city is slowly opening up and after weeks and weeks in isolation, my family found joy when we had the opportunity to engage in some familiar activities. Although familiar, COVID-19 continues to hold a threat and precautions were put in place to keep us safe, making the familiar feel oddly unfamiliar, in many ways.

Therapy Session- My daughter returned to occupational therapy at Leaps & Bounds this week and things were a bit different. The number of therapists and students was limited, temperatures were taken at the door and parents were asked to wait in their cars. Masks were required. We finally found a face mask that my daughter can wear comfortably. The masks with adjustable elastic straps are a must for little people! My daughter did a great job and mentioned she couldn’t wait to go back next week!

Communion at Church- Our church offered communion by appointment this week. Three families could sign up for each 15 minute time slot. Our senior pastor recommended that families bring their children to communion as a way to ease back into coming to our physical church building. We agreed and found communion to be the perfect way to make our little one more comfortable about going back. We were greeted by our music director and each family stood in the narthex, waiting for one of our three pastors to greet them and walk them to a different part of the alter where they individually led each family through the Service of Holy Communion. We are blessed with a big, beautiful, sanctuary so there was plenty of room to spread out. I appreciated the short conversation my family of three had with our pastor before and after communion. Seeing familiar faces, being in God’s house and receiving His body and blood brought us pure joy. My daughter agreed, saying, “Church was too short!

The Library– Our local library system opened up for curbside pick up this week. We went online and reserved several books and then after receiving an email that they were ready for pickup, we drove to our local branch, parked at a spot and followed the directions on the sign. A friendly librarian, wearing a mask, put our books in our trunk and we headed for home. This isn’t the library experience we are accustomed to but we were grateful to get some new books! Our library system has done an amazing job providing online programming throughout the quarantine. From cooking demonstrations to story time to live concerts, the programs we enjoyed in person at the library have moved to on line streaming. Our library is streaming a special program for children every Monday afternoon as part of the summer reading program.

While summer usually brings travel and new adventure, this summer we find ourselves slowly returning to our “new normal.” The adventure comes in new ways of doing things that just months ago felt ordinary. New library books, fun at Leaps and Bounds and receiving Holy Communion, made for a very exciting week!

Fear Not!…Day 30

When we opened the Easter basket from my daughter’s Godparents I never expected to find homemade masks tucked next to the beautifully decorated cookies. During the day I am easily distracted from the daily news. With my young daughter as my primary focus, I am joyfully occupied with play and engaging activity. The masks were a stark reminder of the seriousness that is COVID 19.  Our days pass quickly (when you have a preschooler with a ton of energy you have to be active). But when night appears I find it hard to sleep as my mind is captured with fear… How long will this last? When will my husband return to a normal work schedule and a full salary? With schools overcoming their own challenges will they ever be in need of my consulting services? Did I hurt my daughter today when I relied on technology to occupy part of her day while I attended to neglected household chores? Will my daughter attend kindergarten at a brick and mortar school in the fall or will digital learning continue to be the norm? Are my friends and family members safe?

I know I am not alone. All of my readers are experiencing their own fear, anxiety and personal worry. Reading a daily devotional helps me begin each day in a positive way. FEAR NOT is the theme for Zion Lutheran Church in St. Charles’s annual Easter devotional. Written by members ranging from school age to senior citizen, the devotions cover most of the Easter season, beginning with Easter Sunday (April 12) and ending with the day after Ascension (May 22). The devotional booklet was written before COVID 19 hit our area and this Noteworthy Mommy wrote the devotional for May 5. CLICK HERE to download the devotional booklet. I turn to my writing as a way to make sense of the challenges our world is facing. And just as my daughter is comforted by my loving touch, helping her fall asleep when she awakes in the middle of the night, I find comfort in the hands of my Heavenly Father. As a child of God I place all of my fear and worries into His hands. As Miss Tracy reminds us at the end of dance class… I AM LOVED. I AM SAFE, I AM WELL.