My 5 children will all begin school tomorrow after five months away, and I am both thrilled and terrified.

COVID-19 has changed so much about our lives, and I think for many parents, our relationship with school has been one of the things most affected.

My children love school and literally wept when the announcement was made to cancel the rest of the 2019 school year.

I tried not to take it personally...but honestly, I felt the same way.

The balance of schooling 5 children from home while working was truthfully not a balance at all but a moment by moment way of living.

I found myself surviving by dealing with each problem (internet down, me returning to work in person, trying to relearn what an adverb and pronoun are etc.) as it came up while knowing every day would bring new challenges.

I actually have a degree in education and taught in Wyoming public schools for years...and I was STILL overwhelmed.

When it became clear that our local schools would be opening this Fall I knew that as a family, the best choice for us was to send our children back to school.

My children craved the interaction with friends and teachers, they desperately wanted to return back to the routine that school offers and they truly enjoyed learning and were frustrated and disappointed with the virtual learning experiences they had in the Spring.

And let's get real, the thought of me trying to help my Freshman navigate Algebra 2 was enough to send me into a not so mild panic attack.

Also, (I'm being totally honest here) I knew I would need to quit a job I love in order to truly do a good job of schooling all 5 of them at home.

Our kids already wear masks to attend weekly mass, so I knew from that experience that after a few days they would adjust to wearing them for long periods of time.

But, I'd be lying if I didn't say that as thrilled as I am to maybe (maybe) get a bit more "normal" back to our lives I am terrified I am making the wrong choice.

Despite my son practicing football with more than 20 other kids for the last two months 4 days a week with no COVID issues...I can't help but listen to the nagging voice in my head whispering "What if?"

What if they go to school and get COVID-19?

What if my little guy with asthma suddenly has a major health issue caused by the masks?

What if this decision is actually being made because I am the most selfish lazy mom on the planet and not because it really IS what's best for my kids?

What if the kids' teachers are so overwhelmed with everything that the learning they experience is affected in ways I can't even predict?

What if....?

And the spiral of fear continues.

Talking to friends about this isn't really helpful at all, and I'm not saying that to be rude, I'm just being honest.

I have people whose opinions I value and trust that are making the opposite choice from me...and I have just as many people whose opinions I value and trust making the SAME choice as me.

I guess in the end, all I can do is make the choice that I think is best for my family.

And pray...

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