Spring 2020 will go down in the books as the craziest season most of us have experienced in our lifetime. The coronavirus has threatened our way of life, our freedoms, and at times, our sanity. Every day seems to be a roller coaster of facts and emotion as we attempt to navigate this new normal.
There are many days I find myself weighed down by the gravity of this unprecedented situation. The thing about precedents, is that they have tried and true outcomes. A precedent takes away the guessing game to a certain extent. I’ve never been comfortable with question marks looming. Comfort for me is when I know what to expect, and everyone seems as clueless as I am as to to how this will play out.
These uncharted waters leave us with a choice: Live in fear of the unknown or choose to see the good, and let that good overshadow the fear.
The latter is not the easy choice, but it is the one that might just keep our sanity in check.
It’s easy to be consumed by the evolving news reports and social media stories. It’s easy to scroll past the good and dwell on the negative. It’s easy to complain about how much our lives have changed and how we’ve ‘suffered’ because our girls trip to Charleston was cancelled… just an example, I can’t imagine who would be that petty about something like that when the world is getting flipped up-side-down. Okay, it was me.
I don’t want to minimize the pandemic. There are countless people out there who are truly suffering… suffering might even be an understatement.
We are not in the same boat… we’re all going through the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.
For many of us this is just an inconvenience. But for others, their lives now don’t resemble what they were a month ago. There are those who have dealt first hand with the virus, lost loved ones, or lost jobs and businesses. And then there are those on the front lines who are working selflessly to keep us safe, often sacrificing their own safety and time with their own families. That is suffering, and that is very real.
It’s times like these when heroes emerge, both sung and unsung. I hope their stories of hardship and loss can put things in perspective for the rest of us. And I hope they get the credit they deserve, the credit they have earned.
My sister shared with me a neat quote: “Practice gratitude to experience joy.” A worthwhile mantra, that bares repeating… daily.
For the many sacrifices made, we are forever grateful.
SMALL TOWN BLISS
I’ll be the first to admit, we are in our happy little bubble here in rural Pamlico County. Never have I been so appreciative of the wide open spaces and nature that surrounds us.
“Honey, we’ve got the freezer full of venison and shrimp, the fish are biting, and I’ll grow you a garden. We could live off the land for months if we had to.” ~ Blair Lang
I consider ourselves very lucky to be able to go outside to enjoy the sunshine, play, ride bikes or take the boat out on these pretty spring days.
These last few weeks have been a wake up call for those of us that take our area for granted. We can look around and truly say that at a time like this, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be. It’s that intangible peace of mind that can make you feel fortunate and guilty all at the same time.
THE INDEFINITE SPRING BREAK
The posts about the mom who is a full time mother-employee-housekeeper-wife and now teacher… that’s me. The posts about homeschooling where the kids got suspended and the teacher fired for drinking on the job… also me. It seemed impossible to fit homeschooling into an already overflowing schedule.
My kids’ teacher is kind of a hot mess, I wouldn’t really recommend her.
Those motivated people that are out there tackling house projects and new workouts… good for you. I really do want to compliment you on your productivity post but find myself at the crossroads of annoyed and envious. Some days, the words “it’s just too damn much” are on repeat in my head.
Then I came across the best advice: “it’s okay to lower your expectations”.
Sounds a bit harsh, but change has been much easier to swallow since mine have been ‘adjusted downward’. Everything is doable, which is a mindset that I had to wrap my head around. Ideal, nope… doable, yep.
Now homeschooling isn’t such a chore. Do I wish they were back in school? Um, yeah. Do I have a newfound respect for teachers? Um, I have 2 kids and they have like 20 at any given time. If it were up to me, they’d all be paid six figures and their titles should be changed from Mrs/Ms/Mr to Saint.
Everything can be a lesson, and kids in this neighborhood are learning a bit different… and that’s just fine.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Everyone is pretty much keeping to themselves, and besides home construction, the beach, and the boat ramp/docks, things are pretty quiet in the hood. (We do have our clubhouse, pool, sport courts, playground, Outfitter’s Center and rental cottages shut down for at least a month.)
Of course the water is free reign, hey there neighbor…
Judge if you’d like, but we have quarantined ourselves with our neighbors across the street, who are pretty much like family. Rose has been my go-to for everything from borrowing eggs to happy hour. And being a former teacher, she knows how to deal with kids… especially mine. Evie and Keegan absolutely adore her and even call her their third grandma. Glenn is pretty great too, but I won’t go into details about him… he has a reputation to uphold.
She may have sensed my homeschooling frustration (or maybe I outright told her), but she graciously offered to try a project with them. Well one project turned into many, and now everyday at 11, they happily trot/scoot/pedal over to Rose’s house for her activity du jour. They’ve made everything from rainbow water to insect hotels and come bounding back with a renewed excitement for learning, so happy to tell me about what they crafted or played.
I’m not sure who likes it more… me or the kids.
LOVE THE ONES YOU’RE WITH
I obviously adore my family beyond words, but have also always subscribed to the concept of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. When the kiddos are at school all day, my batteries literally recharge so I’m ready for mom-mode when I see them. Now that they’re with us all the time, when do parents recharge?
Easier said than done perhaps, but a challenge can also be an opportunity.
I can now teach them and learn from them. We can do things together as a family without having to run out the door for school-practice-games-bday parties-appointments, or any of the other 100 things that cluttered our calendar. This time with our families is a gift, and our kids will quite possibly cherish the memories of these months spent at home. True engagement without distraction, something that too often is lost in our hectic daily routines.
A VIRTUAL WORLD
Whereas technology used to be viewed as the demise of social interaction, it has quickly become the sole means of social interaction for the housebound. Nowadays, if you want to be social, you are forced to embrace the apps.
FaceTime, streaming concerts/workouts/entertainment, Marco Polo (one of my favs), Google Hangouts, and don’t forget Zoom. Everyone is Zoom-ing (a new verb) everything from work conferences to (much needed) catch up time with friends and family. It has become a way, THE WAY, of staying in touch. I’m actually able to see my extended family with Zoom more often than usual, a trend that I hope continues. Seeing everyone on a screen obviously isn’t as good as the real thing, but it’s better than losing touch when all we need right now is to feel connected.
We seem to have quite a growing post-corona bucket list. Most of which are ironically things we completely took for granted.
When we are given the green light to venture out, I hope everyone shows up full force to support your local businesses. They are getting walloped and need us more than ever. I wrote about a few of our favs in Local Eats & Treats before this whole mess. The reality is, we need them just as much as they need us.
It takes a village… support yours.
I will make an effort to visit friends and family. And when I finally see them, the hugs will last a little longer, the conversations will be a little deeper, and the memories will be more cherished.
I’ll take the kids to the pool, see live music, have happy hour(s) with friends, go to the grocery store without PPE, spend a pretty food-truck Friday afternoon at the brewery, say a proper goodbye to an old friend, rejoice when the kids go back to school in August (hopefully), take that overdue girls trip, and so much more.
When my real world to-do list is piling up but I have the random opportunity to make a memory, I will choose the memory.
I am not too busy, and I can make the time… my (previous) go-to excuses.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
This is a chapter, not the whole book. There will be a time when we can get back to friends, get back to family and get back to work. Have we learned enough to build each other up instead of breaking each other down?
I hope I speak for most of us in saying that this crisis has taught us to be more present and value our freedoms, two things that too often slip from our grips, overshadowed by the busyness of life.
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” ~ Haruki Murakami
For now we will stay apart, so we can come back together again. Until then.