One month and counting…
It has now been one month since we have been home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I remember that last weekend so clearly. The weekend before the world started to shut down. The weekend when I was still in disbelief that this virus would have any impact on me. That weekend when I started to feel confused, angry, and uncertain.
The Weekend Before The World Shut Down
That weekend, I was supposed to have brunch with some girlfriends. After a lot of internal struggle and conversations with my husband, I opted out. Yet, some of the women still went to brunch. I did decide to go to my dance class. I justified that I would use Clorox wipes and wash my hands diligently and who would go to dance class if they were sick?
My husband and I also allowed our oldest son to go to a birthday party. They were playing paint ball, so we figured the outdoor setting would be fine. Even though they were all in a car together traveling to and from the party location.
I had never heard the words “shelter-in-place” or “flatten-the-curve”.
That was the last weekend for any such debate. After that, we had no choices to make. School was canceled, the gyms closed, dance and karate classes canceled. There were no more play dates, date nights, birthday parties or social gatherings.
We were told to stay home and “shelter-in-place”. Words I had never once heard or muttered in my 40 years. As days went on we realized the seriousness of the virus and the necessity to truly be quarantined to “flatten the curve”. Again, words I had never heard nor expressed up until this point.
We Have Missed So Much in Such a Short Amount of Time
In the 30+ days since that first weekend, we have had many missed events. Our oldest two kids celebrated birthdays—all virtually. We have missed overnight school trips that were planned months in advance. Passover and Easter went by with little to no celebration.
There have been many days filled with questions from the kids, “When will this end?”
I don’t know.
There have been many days filled with emotions—tears, yelling, exhaustion, sadness.
There have been many days filled with boredom and frustration and longing to return to “normal”.
Beauty and Magic
Yet, despite all the cancellations and solitude, there has also been beauty and magic. There has been so much to reflect on and treasure.
My family has really bonded and enjoyed spending time with each other. We have changed our routines and we have started to adapt to this new way of life.
I am proud of my kids for going with the flow. Most days they are happy! They enjoy sleeping in and not having to rush off in the morning to get to school. I never realized how much the morning school rush was stressful to all of us – until we didn’t have to do it anymore. That’s been a huge blessing!
My kids have also learned to get along with each other better! After all, they only have each other to play with in real life (aside from varied Zoom “play dates” with their friends).
Despite all the cancellations and solitude, there has also been beauty and magic.
It’s magical to see a 12-year-old, 10-year-old and 6-1/2-year-old find common ground and truly come together. They have created communities in Minecraft, produced numerous stop-motion movies, and imagined new games in pillow and blanket forts, just to name a few.
They have also discovered a love of new skills. My daughter is becoming an expert baker. She has made crumpets and scones, lemon curd and cookies. She is also learning how to make sourdough starter with my husband.
My oldest son is teaching himself physics and economics. He is reading more and going on walks in nature when he needs to change the scenery.
My little guy is enjoying creative play with his stuffed animals, and his reading is really improving as he learns to be more independent.
Enjoying the Slow Down
As for me and my husband, we are enjoying slowing down. Perhaps we were just moving way too fast and this is the Universe telling us that we needed to take a pause. Without the running around I used to endure, taking my kids to their activities, driving between appointments for work and the social events I was regularly attending, my life is much more simple.
I have made time for more phone conversations with friends new and old. I have been reading more. I have been playing games and watching movies with the family.
We have been working together as a family to take care of the house, completing some projects we had been meaning to do “when we have more time” and sitting down to more family meals.
Quarantine is NOT Easy, but It’s Not Impossible
Quarantine is not easy. It’s been a challenge on many levels. And everyone has their own story to tell about this bizarre time in our existence.
Sometimes a tear in the tapestry is exactly what we need to repair what is broken in a way that is more cohesive and long-lasting.
My biggest takeaway so far is appreciating this simple way of life. I am most grateful for my family’s health and my health. I am grateful that my husband’s business hasn’t been too impacted by the crushing economy.
Although there are many things I miss about that “normal” life…I also know that it’s never going to go back to exactly the way it was. Things are going to be different—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a tear in the tapestry is exactly what we need to repair what is broken in a way that is more cohesive and long-lasting.
I do look forward to seeing my parents and giving people hugs. I look forward to social events and classes and being with groups of people. I look forward to grocery shopping with ease and not having to wear masks.
But I will come out of this time with more appreciation for the small things in life. The things that truly make me happy. And I will stop worrying as much about the bullshit that I used to get so caught up in. Quarantine life definitely is not sustainable, but while it keeps us all healthy, I will continue to learn from it, grow from it and find the magic in it.