The Lessons of an Unprecedented Year

May 20, 2020

I watch as my daughter participates in her last Zoom call of the year. Her teachers made a special presentation for her entire third grade class. In two days the school year will be over. It will be the end of an extremely unique and emotional year. 

I’m watching and crying. Bawling to be exact. Tears that are complicated. They are created by brutal truths and beautiful realities. They can’t be held back. They can’t be contained. So I let them flow freely. 

She sees and motions for me to leave the room. She looks older and more mature than she did just minutes ago. This school year has created that. It created kids that immediately needed to be resilient and flexible. It created kids that had to give up things and moments, without truly understanding why. 

This year has been messy and unconventional and thankfully sprinkled with hope and inspiration. In just days it will be over and I’m not sure if I’m excited or sad. Either way, I’m fearful. 

She will end third grade and become fourth grade bound. We don’t know what it will look like or what it will require. So we smile and we celebrate. We acknowledge the hard work and the learning that was accomplished this year and we grieve for the learning and adventure that was lost. 

I watch all of the faces that appear on the screen. They are the faces of students who will be forever changed by this year and it’s unpredictable chaos. They are the faces of children who will head into summer vacation in an unprecedented way. 

I hear her teachers say, “Give each other a wave! You are officially done with third grade!”

She is smiling. I am crying. It’s a perfect display of adult responsibility versus a child’s effortless optimism. It’s just as it should be. I carry the weight and the heaviness. It’s what mothers do.

She finishes the call and we hug. Tears drip from my eyes as I snuggle her. She did it. We did it. We finished this school year and are forever changed by its composition. 

Not many years are like this one, and I’m grateful for that. But in a beautiful way, it’s taught us the power and influence of connection, and the ability to find gratitude in the things we used to take for granted. 

We have all learned immensely this year. 

We are all changed indefinitely.

And, if we are wise, we will use these lessons to transform the future into one that never forgets the glory and harshness of this year. 

xox, Chels

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2 responses to “The Lessons of an Unprecedented Year”

  1. Sue says:

    What was it the third grade teachers did at the end of school?

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      They made an adorable video for the kids with memories for the year, and my daughters teacher brought her a treat bag with summer reading and some goodies! They went above and beyond to make the students feel special! It was so sweet.

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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