It has been just over a year that your claws have sunk into our world. The devastation and fear that you unleashed is starting to fade, not enough to be in the rear view mirror but the old ways are slowly pushing their way back. The schools are starting to open in our area, sport teams are beginning to practice and look forward to “more”. The “more” that you selfishly stole and hunkered away while you invaded the space of so many unsuspecting, innocent families. Having lived in a county that just a week ago got out of the highest tier of fear. Slowly emerging from the shadows in order to grab ahold of some comfort features left behind so long ago. And while all of this is exciting and feeds my soul, my fear still lingers. Because life has begun again at a warp speed, it has gone from zero to sixty in a matter of days and the overwhelming stress that causes is its own entity. While this is what we have been hoping for and wanting, the reality is still an illness that can take from you. It does not give. So, I fear in silence and make sure my kids follow protocols and safety measures beyond what even their coach or teachers require. I try not to frighten them, I attempt to put on my “everything is fine” face I have likely perfected in my 25 years of motherhood…as I pray for the safety and health of those around us. There is not a person on the planet that has not been changed by this pandemic, whether it’s a life lost, a life started, a fear arose, or anxiety compounded, we all need to be gentle with ourselves. Listen. Give grace and patience. We have experienced something that can bring us together, the silver linings in this are the takeaways. Give yourself kudos my friend, you are stronger from this, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. And Covid, please see yourself out.