Hi there friends. Let’s chat.
I write this to you sitting at my dining room table, just days into the self-imposed quarantine we’re all doing in light of the spread of COVID-19. I have struggled to find the words to express all the feelings I have about the situation we’re all in. Some moments, I struggle with intense worry. Others, I think about the fact that in a few months, this will all be a memory.
On Friday, Abbie’s school district made the announcement that they were closing for 4 weeks. While I knew it was coming, it was hard to hear. I want to be clear that I understand why we’re doing this, that I know it’s what all the experts say we need to do to stop the spread of this virus. But it is hard to see my daughter’s routine completely upended. It was hard to explain to her what was happening, why she wouldn’t see her teacher for a while. She asked to go to Claire’s at the mall today, and it was hard to tell her no, to once again explain why we couldn’t do that. We took a walk instead.
I now find myself searching Amazon for workbooks she can do to keep up her learning, to keep her reading, doing math, learning science and social studies. I am hunting down outdoor activities we can do as it warms up and we can go outside a bit more. In the midst of all this, I am wondering how it’s all going to work. How on earth are we going to handle this, to put on a calm face for our kids, to make the most of the situation?
As of now, our daycare is still open. Come tomorrow morning, both girls will head there for the day so Chris and I are both able to work from home. We plan on sending them for as long as our small center is open. The thing is – that could change at any moment. At any point, our daycare could decide to shut down to further contain the spread – and we’ll probably have to continue paying tuition. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m well aware of the fact that we’re some of the most fortunate – the ones that are able to work from home. So many working parents don’t have that privilege.
I hate the fact that we’re not in control here. We have no idea how long it’s going to be before our lives return to normal. We have no idea what our families, our communities, our country will look like on the other side.
So if you’re right there with me – it’s OKAY to not be OKAY.
It’s okay to be nervous, to wonder, to worry. It’s okay to just do what you have to in order to get through this. It’s okay that your kids may have a ton of screen time. It’s okay to not be cut out to homeschool them and maybe get them just a few workbooks instead. It’s okay to let them live off pasta and mac and cheese because that’s all you can muster up making. However we get through this, whatever is necessary – it’s okay.
It’s also okay to find the little blessings in the extra family time. A walk with one of your kids, half an hour spent coloring with another. A marathon of Disney movies, an hour of playing pretend. Snuggling up and reading together. These are all the things we never have time for – so being forced into them means we can appreciate them for what they are – simple blessings.
The most unexpected blessing in all this for me has been something I didn’t expect – renewed connection with others. In our busy lives, I often don’t have the time to talk or text with my friends who live far away, but in the past few days, I’ve talked to them more than I have in months. There’s a communal spirit there, something we’re all going through together. I’m a huge extrovert at heart, and these small conversations have given me so much light. Even when all this is a memory, I don’t want to lose that.
If you’re struggling today or in the coming weeks, please know that you are far from alone – and please don’t hesitate to text someone, even if you haven’t talked to them in ages. The connection is still there, and in this most uncertain time, we need it more than ever. While we can’t be together in person, we can in spirit. We can type, talk, and FaceTime. We can be together in a way that will keep us close until we can hug each other again. When these days are all a memory, we’ll remember how we held on to each other. We’ll remember that we helped each other learn to be okay.