It’s now been six months (really!) since COVID-19 steamrolled in. Both as a parent and as a centre director, it has been quite a whirlwind. 

Those of you who know me well know that when there is a crisis I am quick to strategize, implement and plan, all while spreading hope. But once the dust settles even I need to take a moment to pause, think and catch my breath (literally). 

I don’t tell you this because I think you want to read about me; and, as you may know, I am usually a pretty private person. But I think challenging times call on us to stretch, and to share with one another. 

I am lucky to have an incredible support network – but I’ll be honest, there are days I wish we could just have our pre-COVID lives back. Sometimes I sift through photos of vacations I might never take again, and think about birthday parties I might never host, and gatherings of friends I might never be able to hug. I also miss the smiles I used to take for granted, that are now (temporarily!) hard to see through mandatory masks. 

If you’re feeling this way, know you’re not alone, and it’s ok. Even those of us who haven’t tragically lost someone to COVID-19 are experiencing losses of various kinds – and we are entitled to feel the emotions that naturally come with loss. 

Every day I seem to speak with a different parent who’s apologizing for not returning a form in time, or for not being perfect (note: NONE of us are perfect, even at the best of times!). They feel they’re not meeting the moment, somehow – when in reality, we’re all doing everything we can, and that’s all we can possibly be expected to do.

So, at the risk of sounding like Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley, maybe we should all just chill out on ourselves a bit. 

We are all serious champions of keeping our families running in a storm of obstacles. Rather than beating ourselves up for not reaching our own unreasonable expectations, maybe we should show ourselves a little grace, as we would for anyone else we love. 

Think about it. As of March, parents have been expected to home school their children, work extra hours at work (or even worse, handle a job loss), safely seek groceries, learn to cook, spend 24 hours a day with their children in a confined setting and try to find that darn toilet paper and Lysol wipes they desperately need. 

Oh, and all with a cool head and a kind heart. 

What we really should be doing instead of feeling terrible and apologizing, is finding ways to support ourselves and each other. Spread love and make ourselves available for each other. 

While the Brightling Academy is ticking along beautifully, as a staff we miss interacting with you every day. So here’s our invitation: please call us in the office at 204-487-7879 or email us at any time to chat. You don’t need to have a reason – connecting is reason enough. We have the most wonderful interest in common…your children. 

This month you’ll notice a BIG LOVE BALL in our yard. We’ll be inviting you to take a photo with it as a part of our SPREAD LOVE initiative. Is this enough? I don’t know, but I can tell you that the thought of receiving some of your phone calls and putting together a photo collage of love ball photos will brighten my days. I hope you’ll join in, and that the photos you take and share will also help spread love in your own circles, especially among people you don’t get to see in person right now.  

October is the month of Thanksgiving, and I am tremendously thankful for our Brightling community.
Sending you lots of love. 

Karolina Dressler
K. Dressler