By Paige Tucker

1. We are not in control. God pressed pause on the whole world in March 2020, and that was it. When it comes to the life lessons we take from the slow-down, however, we do have a little say. 

2. Grace upon grace, upon grace. We all need grace more than ever and need to offer it freely. More often than not, we’re doing the best we can, whether it’s our co-workers, our children or the clerk at the grocery store.

3. Children are resilient. But they also love routines, their friends and their extended family. As parents, we can shield them from a lot, but they were keenly aware when the world seemed to stop turning last year. I know in our house, that made for some pushback and some tears. How could I fault my little girl, Julia Reynolds, when suddenly the words no, cancelled and postponed were the most frequent she heard? That’s where that grace comes in.

4. Busy isn’t better. Clearing the calendar proved therapeutic in many ways, for children and adults. Many of us now think twice before overscheduling and immediately regretting taking on too much. Make sure that yes is worth it. Sometimes no is the best yes to your family.

5. Family is everything. Relationships matter. Don’t wait to nurture them. Most of us had more time to communicate during Quarantine, but it’s a good reminder to keep our people close always. How fun was it reconnecting with college besties or long lost childhood friends, even if it was on ZOOM?

6. Nothing trumps in-person communication. We live in a text/email/video chat world, and while I’m thankful for all of that, nothing compares to seeing your people face to face. 2021 has opened some doors, but I’m looking forward to more gatherings and hugs in the future.

7. Life is not always going to look like we want it to. I’d say we’ve gotten some hands-on experience figuring out how to function when it’s not going the way we’d hoped.

8. Daily routines like making the bed and getting dressed for the day are beneficial. Even when you have nowhere to go! Your mom was right, making your bed is a worthwhile habit. It sets the tone for the day and when we weren’t leaving home too much, it helped break up the monotony of getting out of bed and seemingly getting right back in. Also, pants with buttons and a little mascara can do wonders for your day!

9. Quarantining is hard, and hopefully once in a lifetime, but thank goodness for a safe place to stay safe. Far too many are not so lucky.

10. Keep a good stock of things important to you and, you know, the basics. When we’re old and gray, we’re going to have stockpiles of toilet paper stashed in the closets.

Some of my favorite moms and girlfriends contributed to this list. There was plenty of repetition as we collaborated. Themes of love, family, and faith rang true.

A few bonus lessons: Noise cancelling headphones are considered essential. Get to know your neighbors, you might need to borrow a roll of TP. Learn how to make your favorite cocktail, you’ll need it. Distance learning is not for the faint of heart, and teachers are heroes! And the funniest – There is a lady out there, named Carole Baskin, who fed her husband to a tiger.

As the end of the second year of this “new normal” nears, I think about all of the things we’ve missed and all that’s indelibly changed – families, school, parties, graduations, and weddings. Our lives are forever altered. But the really important stuff has been magnified. Let’s hope that rings true long after the pandemic passes.

After twelve years in local news, most recently as evening anchor of NBC 26, Paige Tucker is now a work-at-home mom and freelance journalist. She produces two series for NBC 26 TV, First Responders and 26 Women Today, and you can see those stories on Tuesday nights. Paige and her husband have one daughter, Julia Reynolds, who is seven years old.

Photo courtesy of Any Lane on Pexels