New School Beginnings

Well, after a short delay, the school year is off and running for the kids. While so many schools around the country are offering hybrid options, our school offered two: full in-person 5 days a week or full virtual.

Coming from NYC and having what I would describe as PTSD in regards to Covid and social distancing and mask wearing, I wasn’t comfortable with the full in-person option (let’s be honest…I wouldn’t be comfortable with a hybrid option either), but after praying and talking about it with Ed, we decided the full in-person option would be best for our kids. Emotionally, academically, given our situation with me doing ministry and Ed working at Grace, moving to a new place, needing to make friends and put down roots here, and experiencing such intense isolation the last few months, not to mention how extremely difficult it was/is to do virtual schooling with 3 kids in school and 1 at home but not in school, we made a decision and are moving forward, even despite our fears. Had we been in NYC with community already, our decision would likely have been different. While not everyone will agree with our decision, and while we may not be 100% sure we made the right decision, I heard a pediatrician saying “There isn’t a right choice for everyone – pick one and move forward in confidence. That’s the best you can do as a parent.” So that is what we did/are doing. I commend any parent this year for making a decision for their family, instead of being paralyzed by fear and the what ifs, even if it isn’t what we have chosen – there is no right or wrong answer.

Their first week went great and I told Ed that if they only got these 4 days at school this whole year, it was worth it for how excited they were, making new friends, and getting out of the house. Emerson capped the week off with bringing home Student of the Week for Patience – she was the one chosen for her class. The smile on her face is so worth it all. 

It is so interesting all the differences I noticed on the first day between NYC and SC. People always comment on it being different, and it 100% is, but on the first day of school, those differences were glaring. Here were a few I noticed:

  1. During drop-off and pickup, we noticed huge spaces between the cars while waiting in line and huge gaps between the cars when they parallel parked. In NYC, you could barely slide a kid through the cars while parallel parked OR waiting in line, as every single inch of space was used. 
  2. I waited 45 minutes to pick them up the first day. In NYC, most parents walked or they parked their car and then walked up to the school. Carpool lines didn’t exist, at least in the sense of teachers bringing kids to cars.
  3. Ed and I noticed three girls going into the school commenting on their matching outfits. In NYC, they didn’t do matching outfits for siblings.
  4. The huge bows that girls were wearing. In NYC, you were immediately out of place if you wore them. And the monograms, everywhere. I was raised in the South so I am no stranger to the bows and monograms, but wow…
  5. Blake said anytime they walked anywhere, he was always in the back of the line for his class. I asked him why and he said it is because the girls have to go first. That, again, isn’t a thing in NYC – its a free for all…no southern manner of boys letting the girls go first. 

Overall, our kids are such phenomenal troopers and are adjusting so well. The days of us missing NYC are getting fewer and further between (9/11 was a weird day for us as we have been in the city for it the last few years and in the city, its a very somber remembrance day). They are starting to make friends. We are starting to make friends. Things are starting to feel more “normal.” 

Radio Silence

Radio silence – that is the term I would use to describe my absence since my last blog post on June 18. I have missed blogging and updating you on our ministry and life, and yet it has been so good for me to pause as we figured out a new normal in a new place that feels like a completely new world. I am hopeful that I will resume regular blogging now that school is starting, but realizing there is tons of grace as I adapt to what I/our family needs.

First, I want to update you on ministry….I am officially serving on the Clemson University staff team!! I will also be working at Anderson University, which is right here in our little town.  God sure does have a sense of humor to put this Carolina Gamecocks fan at Clemson, and though I can’t guarantee I will wear orange anytime soon, I am really excited about what God is doing/is going to do at Clemson and Anderson. This year has already looked WAY different with most meetings still being held over Zoom and staff meetings and Bible studies outside and constant counting to make sure we don’t go over Cru’s people limits for meetings, but we are already seeing some fun things happen and our students are rockstars. More updates to come!

Ed has started his job at Grace Church. At times, he feels like he is drinking from a fire hydrant with all the new info being hurled at him, but he is slowly learning the ropes and feeling more confident. He is loving the variety in his role, helping with student ministry but also getting to help with adult small groups. He is being trained at the Grace downtown campus for the first 6 months before he will transition full-time to Anderson. While I think it is brilliant that they train him and he serves next to and under experienced people before he jumps in on his own, we will be glad when he is closer by everyday.

It is so weird moving in a Covid world. Not only has it been a big transition to move from NYC to SC (culture change, city to suburb change, seriousness about Covid change), but it is extremely hard to get into a new normal or make friends or put down roots when everyone is social distancing and wearing masks and staying away. The kids will start school this Tuesday – full five days a week in person as long as it lasts. While it makes me nervous to send them to school 5 days a week in person, I had to admit that there wasn’t a schooling option that I was excited about (virtual, 2 days a week in person, etc.). So, when considering the options and praying about it, we decided that socially and emotionally, going to school was what our kids needed in this season of just moving and trying to make friends and establish roots in a new town. Had we been in NYC, this decision may have been different. While I don’t know that anyone is extremely confident in the schooling decision they have made, us included, we are making a decision and moving forward, trusting that God will guide us whatever comes. Here is a picture of the kids at the kindergarten open house at their new school.

We are slowly settling into our new house and making it our own. Our family is LOVING having more space to run around (hence the girls wanting their beds de-bunked as they now have a little more space to do that) and we have been busy at house projects now that we actually have a place that is our own to do them. Thanks to my mom and my friend Amy and their amazing decorating talents, I have been able to create such fun places in our house. 

The last three weekends Ed has worked tirelessly to extend our patio area in our backyard to create more living space for our family (thanks to our neighbor who guided him on it every step of the way). I LOVE how it turned out and we are definitely using it Someone looking at buying the house next to us said it looks like we are ready for a party and I said “well, we have 4 kids so everyday is kind of like a party.” haha. Here is the before and here is the after, both at night and during the day.

Here is a photo from Fourth of July as we celebrated at my mom’s house – thought I would include one of everyone for your enjoyment 🙂

More updates to come….