We survived perhaps one of the most devastating times of our lives. Leah shared her post-pandemic reflections on making it through the first year of the pandemic. We understand that Covid continues to be a devastating story for many, so please protect your heart if this story might be triggering for you.

Post-Pandemic Reflections by Leah McCray

It was the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, and there were so many decisions to make on March 13, 2020. It was the last day that students would be in a school building until further notice, and for a single mother, that meant free daytime child care. That last day was spent in the stores gathering everything we might need.

Everyone was posting on social media showing the lines in the stores of people with full carts buying up all the food and toilet paper that the carts could hold. The hottest thing in the markets was toilet paper; everyone was scared of running out of toilet paper, so I joined in and bought as much as I could fit in the car with my groceries. I wanted to save time going to a big store with so many people clearing the shelves, so I tried my luck at a neighborhood store and got everything I thought I needed.

I called my parents to see if they had everything they needed too. Making sure my parents were prepared for what life would be like during a pandemic was important. After I got everything and took it home, it was time to pick up my daughter. That’s when things got real because I had to tell her we could not stop anywhere and needed to go home and stay in the house. She was only 3, so it was not that bad, and of course, she did not understand until a few days passed with no school or going outside.

Pandemic Times: Paying Bills And Necessities

I had to make serious choices about paying my bills. Pay them on time or save my money since we did not know what would happen. I chose to save my money and not worry about the bills for a month. Learning what our actual necessities were and appreciating the things we had at home to keep us comfortable. The best thing I had for my daughter was her trampoline to keep her active in the house, which kept her happy for a while.

I learned a lot about myself during those first few months of quarantine with my daughter. I was more prepared than I thought to teach a toddler at home. Turning her playroom into an at-home preschool setup was something I enjoyed doing. Virtual learning was a bit much for us because my daughter did not want to sit and look at the screen unless it had her cartoons playing. Lol. After a few days, she liked seeing her teacher on the screen.

Who can you count on? You definitely found out who you can count on during this pandemic, so appreciate who you have in your corner. My dad would bring whatever I needed and put it on my porch, so we did not have to leave the house much. I felt really blessed to live so close to my family during this time.

Leah shares her post-pandemic reflections one year later. What Happened To In School Stomachs?

It seemed like my daughter was running through her snacks. What happened to these kids’ school stomachs? Lol! I felt like I was cooking all day or feeding her the same thing daily. Our menu had gotten pretty boring, but luckily toddlers are ok with little variety. That next store run I made really hit me hard. Seeing those shelves empty was a rude awakening. I just got what I could from two stores and headed back home.

My outlook on life was to make ends meet with what was available to me. It has been well over a year since the start of the pandemic. I am just thankful to still be in my home and we have not gotten COVID.

Do you have any post-pandemic reflections that stand out to you?