Unexpected summer blessings

This summer has not gone quite like I expected it would. I’m sure we’ve all had summer plans changed due to the pandemic, but as I’ve reflected on the summer I’ve found lots of unexpected blessings hiding in those changes.

My classes this fall will be online, so I’ve spent lots of extra time planning and preparing my classes. While this was not how I had planned to spend my summer, I am glad my school provided instruction at the beginning of the summer to help me learn how to develop an effective online class. I am also grateful this early instruction gave me the rest of the summer to do my planning and preparation. Focusing on these more positive aspects has helped me better deal with my disappointment in not having as much time to relax or work on non-school projects.

Another unexpected blessing was the Bartholomew County Public Library’s summer reading program. I usually participate in the reading program, but this summer the incentive of prizes encouraged me to read some of my favorite authors giving me a chance to relax and escape from my current worries. Another program incentive was earning badges for doing various activities such as attending a virtual library program or reading books on a certain topic. One badge option I chose was using their curbside pickup. The library was closed at the time and having a cheerful librarian bring my selected book to my car totally made my day. (Curbside service is still available even though the library is now open.)

One of my sons had his internship in Texas canceled so he, my daughter-in-law, and my grandson spent the summer with my daughter-in-law’s family. They live just a few hours away which allowed us to get together more often than we would have been able to if they had been in Texas. More grandma time is always a plus for me!

Another disappointment was our anticipated family trip to the beach falling through. We changed our plans and discovered the beauty of Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio instead. My husband and I are already trying to figure out a time we can go back. Not only is the area beautiful, but it’s also much closer than the beach.

A different kind of blessing came from being able to attend the Indiana University Education Conference hosted by the Indiana Black Expo. I believe the conference is usually held in Indianapolis, but this year it was all online so I could tune in to all the sessions and still take care of things at home. I probably wouldn’t have rearranged my schedule and taken the time to travel to the conference in another summer.

I still have times when I’m sad that many of my plans were changed this summer. While I try to look for the positives, I’ve also learned I need to give myself permission to feel that disappointment, which then allows me to move past being sad. Whatever your disappointments are, acknowledge them and then see if you can find your own unexpected blessings amidst this crazy summer.

Susan Cox is one of The Republic’s community columnists, and all opinions expressed are those of the writer. She is a mother and an adjunct instructor of English at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus and Indiana University Purdue University Columbus. She can be reached at [email protected].