COVID 19 UPDATE – Legal Professional Blog
By: Mary Hartin
Bob Leonard Law Group Executive Assistant & Legal Professional – My View from Home – COVID 19 Update
I’ve worked for the Bob Leonard Law Group for almost five years. During that time, I’ve seen the firm change, grow, and develop. One of the most important transitions has been the firm’s continued move toward being as much “in the cloud,” aka using online storage and our client portal, as much as possible, enabling our ability to work from almost any location. Fortunately, for the staff, as well as our clients, most of us now have the capability to work 100% from home, and we are working toward the final person being able to do that, as well. While we were trying to prevent a firm shut down in case something happened, I know that none of us expected the situation we currently face.
I’ve been working from home the majority of the time since about February, 2019. My husband works in IT for a major hospital system, so he also works from home 99% of the time. That has been our norm. What has NOT been our normal is my seventeen-year-old high school senior attending school from home, finishing his last year of high school the way it appears to be ending.
Here is what 2020 was supposed to look like:
My son’s senior prom should have been in late April.
Pre-graduation festivities at my son’s school have always been special events for, not just the students, but for the parents and families, as well.
My son’s graduation should be in late May.
My entire Connecticut family was planning on attending my son’s graduation.
His 18th birthday would be celebrated two days after his high school graduation, followed by a post-graduation/birthday trip to Disney World. This was supposed to be our first family trip in many years and would have included my married daughter and her husband.
We are/were scheduled to fly to Georgia in late June for college orientation.
Michael would be on campus the first week in August for his freshman year of college.
And lastly, I had started planning a surprise 80th birthday celebration with my sister for my mom in Connecticut, which would have included my flying “back home” to surprise her. (I haven’t been back to see my family in almost two years.)
Additionally, my daughter is an RN, working nights in a busy Fort Worth emergency room, while my son in law is a 9-1-1 dispatcher. The worry I have about their health and safety keeps me awake well into the night on many occasions.
Needless to say, the events of the last month (has it only been that long) or so, have rearranged all of our lives.
As I think about the quarantine, and our new reality, I am sad, but I am hopeful and encouraged. Let’s look at each event and what I CHOOSE to make them mean for our family.
My son’s senior prom has been rescheduled to a later date, different venue, both of which are unknown at this time. My son gave me the best perspective of all. “Mom, in the scheme of life, this really is not a big deal.” He’s right. Right now, to many of them, their view of the world is so narrow because it’s all they’ve known for the past 12 years or so. But, the reality is, many of them will not remember a lot of the details of this night 20 or 30 years from now. If prom does happen, it will make the event a whole lot more special, as it will closer to the time they all head off in different directions. How bittersweet will those last dances be as the music fades.
Pre-graduation festivities and graduation have hit me hard as a parent. I know my son, his classmates, and every other 2020 graduate and their family is experiencing similar emotions. Fortunately, my son’s school has not yet made a hasty decision with regard to graduation and pre-graduation events. Yet, with every email I receive from them, every video they post, etc…, I am filled with anticipation, stress, hope, fear, wondering what the decision will be. These kids have worked so hard. They DESERVE to walk across that stage and be honored in that moment, and we, as parents, DESERVE that moment, as well.
My son attends a private Christian school, so he has been at the SAME SCHOOL for 14 years. The thing that, perhaps, makes our situation just slightly different was that just prior to his entering high school, my son and his sister lost their father. It was very unexpected, and he was only 13 years old. Watching my son excel and succeed in high school, both for himself, and yes, to honor his father’s legacy, was always supposed to culminate in that final moment, as he crossed the stage and got handed that diploma. I pray every day that he doesn’t lose this moment, as well.
That being said, I see his school trying to spotlight every senior on social media, trying to do a “virtual” spirit week via Zoom, teachers reaching out to parents and students with personal phone calls, supportive videos being sent by the administration, etc… Everyone has been trying to be creative in ways to come together as a school family.
Reflecting on all of our other plans, I know Disney World will re-open someday. It may take work and planning to try and schedule a family trip once my son heads to Atlanta for college, as well as, trying to coordinate work schedules for the rest of us, but we will do it, because it’s important to us.
The trip to see my extended family will also happen again. I did, however, feel the need to let my mother know of what was being planned, and let her know that I WAS/AM planning on visiting. I believe it’s important to give each other hope and something to look forward to right now.
My son will have orientation and go to college. Will it happen how/when we thought? I don’t know. I’m sure the university doesn’t know right now, either. But, millions of other families out there are in the same situation. We are not alone.
My daughter and son in law continue to make me proud on a daily basis. My daughter is exhausted, but she shows up for every shift and takes on extra shifts because they need her. She fills in for co-workers and reaches out by phone to former neighbors she grew up with, just to check on them because she knows they have pre-existing health issues.
My typically “picky eater” teenager is eating whatever I give him for a meal, thanks me for it, and has NOT ONCE complained about the rotating meal plans I’ve had to put in place because it’s what we have in the house. He has also taken up experimenting with baking and cooking, with my encouragement. We are using the time to prepare for college in greater ways, i.e., the proper way to clean a bathroom, etc. (Yes, I am in denial and want to believe that his college bathroom will get cleaned and laundry washed, on a regular basis.)
During such a difficult time, watching your children “step up” and seeing them act as kind, loving, thankful people is one of the greatest gifts you can receive as a parent.
I see my friends and family on social media putting down their phones and having “dance offs” and “bake offs” with their families, taking walks, enjoying nature in their backyards, playing board games, doing puzzles, etc. with their loved ones. We seem to be talking more, too. Overnight, we seem to have become a “softer,” kinder, gentler society.
Finally, I see hope. I see unity. I see love. I see caring. I see neighbors posting that they need certain supplies, and I see friends and neighbors leaving those items, sometimes, anonymously, on their doorstep. When I do have to venture into the grocery stores, I hear strangers telling other strangers that certain items are available or where they can purchase them. People are saying “please” and “thank you” more, and surprisingly, I’ve witnessed patience.
So, while COVID-19 is a terrible virus, and we’ve all seen, and heard, of instances of hoarding, etc.. I’ve also witnessed human beings at their very best. I’ve seen what this world can be like if we live the lessons we’ve learned long after this virus is over.
While, like everyone else, I’ve experienced so many emotions, I will hold onto the hope, and the love, and the good qualities I’ve seen during this difficult time, and I will pray for all of us.