It has been a solid year since the pandemic hit (March 13th to be exact in Austin). I think back over this COVID time and reflect. I reflect on the good and the bad, but mostly the good; matter of the fact the great.

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Have the days and nights been long? Yes. Have the responsibilities increased? Yes. Have there been tears, sadness, anxiety and uncertainty? All yes.

But there have also been plenty of big belly laughs, time spent watching movies, taking walks, playing outside, but more importantly, there has been time to be present with the ones we love. Time to create memories. Time to slow down. Time to just BE.

RELATED READING :: Learning to Enjoy One of Our Most Valuable Commodities During Covid Quarantine…. Time

Prior to COVID, our lives were filled with hours in the car, commuting to and from school, to and from football and basketball practices, games on the weekends and tutoring sessions during the week. My children spent hours in after school care and daycare due to our work schedules. Although we were spending time together, it was nowhere near the amount of quality time they needed or deserved.

Fast forward all these months and our oldest now attends school where I work and is thriving. He frequently tells me that he loves school. At his previous school, he always complained that he hated school and most days we left the building crying. My youngest was in daycare, five days a week sometimes until 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. Now, she stays home with us two days a week and her grandmother three days a week. And while she may not be on a strict learning schedule, she is allowed to be creative tapping into her interests, coloring, singing and dancing.

This time has allowed me to see their gifts. Our three year old is very artistic even at this age and our eight year old loves playing chess.

This extra time has given me the opportunity to talk more to my family and have more meaningful conversations. Some friends I have lost and others I have gained, but I wouldn’t change a thing. And while having to stay home most days is not ideal, it works for my family. Our children are thriving and have experienced few ill effects because of COVID.

And even after COVID ends, we will continue to live at a slower pace soaking up all the little moments because, boy, do they grow up fast. And I, for one, am appreciating this time with them (even though sometimes they drive me crazy :).

Janina Roberts, M.A., LSSP, a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology married to her college sweetheart, Allen, Sr, for almost 14 years. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Trinity University. She and Allen have two children, Allen, Jr. (7 y.o.) who is very active in sports and a loving gentle soul and Aelicia (2 y.o.), who is very independent and a spit-fire. Janina is what some would call a military brat who moved frequently. She was born in Louisiana, moved to Las Vegas, NV then Abilene, TX where she graduated high school. Janina is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership while also working full-time. She is avid party planner especially her kid's birthday parties and loves eating ice cream from Amy's. On the weekends you can find her at the track field, at basketball and football games cheering on her son, AJ.

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