Like everyone else, when told to shelter in place, I didn’t really understand the gravity of the situation. As the leader of the employee engagement team, I had unlimited access to data, medical professionals and executives eager to make a plan to keep our employees safe. The hours were long, decisions needed to be made quickly, global alignment was not always easy. I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by extraordinary leaders who operated from a place of trust, and were singularly focused on doing the right thing.
Once everyone was safely working from home, the chaos changed. It became much more personal. Who was going to teach my children? How was I going to get food in the house? Where in the world was I going to take conference calls from? Together, we all worked towards a new normal. And in doing so, we became so much more human. Learning became about more than common core math and grammar — it was about patience, and learning to cook for yourself and cleaning toilets. Kids interrupting meetings was no longer taboo; it was refreshing.
Though the hours have been long and the Zooms are relentless, my family has grown closer. At any moment of the day, I can open my bedroom/office door and find joy on the other side. There’s always a hug waiting for me. There’s a math problem that can be solved, writer’s block that can be unlocked, or something interesting in nature to observe. I love the cocoon we’ve built. I love our plan-free weekends. I love really understanding what’s going on in my kids’ beautiful, developing minds.
And now… doors are starting to open again, and I’m scared. Learning to let my kids fly again when rules aren’t as clear. A natural conflict exists in letting them resume their budding social lives, and wanting to keep them close where I can selfishly smother them with love and ensure their health and safety. To say nothing of my own unanticipated fears and anxieties of trying to resume a normal, community based life…
I find myself once again focusing on the joy on the other side of the door. I remind myself that open doors open our family up to new adventures and memory making. Open doors open our community for business. Open doors open our hearts to greater understanding and shared experiences.