Picture it: I’m standing on the beach, enjoying my first annual spring break girls’ weekend with my sister and cousin. I’m happy. I’m relaxed. Life is good. My phone rings. It’s my husband, Tommy, who has worked in the family business with me for 22 years (but you probably already knew that). “They are extending spring break because of Covid.” It’s tax season but one extra week won’t put us too far behind. Then it was two and then the rest of the school year. I started to panic (little did I know). How will I do this during tax season? How will all the work get done? Then tax season was extended and in no time our office was closed, and I was scrambling to get us and our employees setup to work remotely. I’d done some work from home for years but not to this extent and certainly not while my kids were fighting me tooth and nail about schoolwork every day.
In the interim, I learned more about the pandemic and realized that Tommy’s lung issues made him high risk. I had listened to him gasping for breath just a few months before so the thought of him catching Covid was terrifying. (To recap, so far we have panic and terror.) We basically became recluses. We counted our blessings for still having jobs, and for being able to keep our employees. Business really slowed down for a while. It can be concerning when your sole family income comes from your small, family business. But we kept the faith and by the July 15th filing deadline business had picked back up and we thank our loyal customers for that. We were still pretty blue from the isolation, but we were making it. Then we lost two family members within 7 weeks. One in the most gut wrenching, heart breaking way. And I began to truly hate this year. (Now panic, terror, grief, and hate.) 2020 wasn’t just crazy and surreal anymore. It got real serious, real fast. Even a normal grieving process and support system were stolen from us.
Then I was immediately thrown into deciding whether my children would return to school or homeschool. It felt impossible. (Panic, terror, grief, hate and hopelessness.) How could I send them to school and risk my husband’s life? How could I homeschool and keep the business running? How could I teach an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old everything they need to know? Where would I ever find the energy and emotional fortitude to handle it all? And the answer is-I just did. We chose to homeschool and pushed through one disastrous curriculum and format after another. Then one day, the most amazing thing happened. My 5-year-old son announced that he wanted to read a book…his first book. For me, watching a child read for the first time is like witnessing a miracle. I felt that way when my daughter started to read but this time was different. This time I had been in the trenches. Guiding and directing my son. Scared that I would fail him.
Pride lit up his sweet little face when he finished that book, and I felt soaring joy! Listening to him read it over and over to our family made my heart sing. It was the 2020 moment I needed! It did not erase all the pain and worry of the last 8 months, but it reminded me that wonderful things can happen even in the darkest times.
Our Administrative Assistant, Santanna, shares inspiring quotes with our team every morning in her agenda email. This one from Nelson Mandela rang true. “It always seems impossible until it's done.” That quote stays with me. It propels me forward when I hit a wall or worry about what’s around the corner. It quiets my nagging doubts about being enough for my family, my employees, and my clients. So far this year, I have accomplished the impossible. I bet you have too.