Kids Life Tuscaloosa May-June 2020 - Page 8

the heart of homeschooling By Terra Kittrell never dreamed Chandler would be spending the last moments of his senior year “sheltering in place.” I’ve seen a multitude of emotions dis- played on social media, from other seniors and their parents, about the surrealness of all that we are experiencing during the COVID19 pandemic. Those emo- tions have ranged from shock, grief, anger, disappointment, and disbelief. We watched as the United States seemed to shut down, one state at a time, and then event by event, Chandler’s senior year was put on hold. Then delayed. Then canceled al- together. No weekly co-op, no spring formal, no senior activi- ties, and the possibility of no graduation. It felt like we’d been transported to a different dimension. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a positive person, but I have always used the “could be worse” coping mechanism. When things get rough, I try to count as many blessings as I can and focus on what I do have and not what I don’t. Chan- dler and I discussed these things, and while we acknowledged that we were disappointed, we agreed that it was preferable to look back on his graduation year as a time when the world was bizarre than a time he lost a parent, grandparent, or oth- I 8 er loved one to a threatening virus. We enjoyed some beauti- ful March weather and made elaborate plans for what we’d do when we were “ungrounded.” We focused on choosing joy and moving forward. After all… it could always be worse. And it did get worse. On April 5, I got a phone call that would deliver news that paled in comparison to the loss of a normal senior year. There was pain in my husband’s voice, and the words he spoke were completely unfathomable: our 18 year old niece, Lexy, had been in a horrendous car ac- cident where neither she nor the driver survived. There are no words to describe how it felt to hang up and relay the information to my children. Chandler overheard the pain in our voices and came running to the balcony that overlooks downstairs. I won’t soon forget the look on his face when I repeated the words he hoped he had misunderstood. Lexy and Chandler were born four months apart. Just a month or two before, he’d spent the weekend in Mississippi, escorting her to a school formal. Just days later, he’d dress up again, along with his brothers, and bear the weight of escorting her to her fi nal resting place. Hearts that were already suffering were further pained by the impact of masks, social distanc- ing, and uncommon burial practices. We were allowed to