It’s been 31 days of writing. Eighteen of them have been while social distancing. I’ve learned a few things about myself, my family and even you.
I’ve learned days of social distancing become monotonous. The days blend into one and it is difficult to decipher a Monday from a Friday. None of us ever thought that would happen. Routines are quickly forgotten and we are sucked into new schedules that are much less productive, but necessary all the same. The name of the game is survival rather than thriving and that’s OK when the world is falling to pieces around you.
I’ve learned that I don’t do well out of my usual hustle and bustle. As a teacher, I am used to stretches of time off in December, March and summer. But those stretches are filled with play dates and dinner dates. Zoo trips and shopping sprees. The occasional rainy day is a relief to rest our weary bones rather than a sentence to a day without fresh air.
I’ve learned that it is easy to fall into old habits of anxiety and even depression. That we need to be aware of this and do what we can to pull ourselves out and find help where we need it. Maybe that’s in a FaceTime chat with a friend or a walk around the block. Maybe it is in a tele-therapy session or a conversation with your doctor about meds. All of these things, in hundreds of combinations can literally save lives and marriages.
I’ve learned that my children need so much more…and less…than I ever thought. On days when I have back-to-back-to-back Zoom meetings, my kids are completely content with the TV, some puzzles and each other. Yet they need to be fed
a million at least three times a day and given countless snacks. They need constant reminders to go potty. Diapers do not change themselves and two year olds do not voluntarily put themselves down for naps. Moms have to step in. And that means stepping away from the computer. Limits are hard to set for the kids and myself.
I’ve learned that I miss my family. Great Grandpa Sunday dinners are indefinitely put on hold. This hurts my heart. My twice weekly pre and post babysitting chats with my father-in-law have dwindled to some texts and the occasional FaceTime with the kids. I no longer pop into my sister’s house on my way to an appointment with a cup of coffee or at my dad’s house on the way to work. I did most of my phone calling on my way to or from work. I’ve lost touch with my normal chat buddies filling that time with laundry, dinner, and disciplining children instead.
I’ve learned that most people are genuinely kind. When you put your thoughts and feelings out there, it is easy to forget that someone is on the other side reading what you write. And yet, not a post goes by that a friend, family member, neighbor, or stranger doesn’t reach out to me. Some just compliment the pictures of my kids. Others ask if there is anything they can do. Often people sympathize with how I am feeling. It validate my own thoughts.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. sad. anxious. uncertain. not okay.
So even though this wasn’t my strongest year writing, I did write every day. I committed to it and followed through. I am proud of that. There were days that there was so little that was sliceable, that I felt like I was running down a grocery list to anyone who was reading. For that I am sorry. But, what an unexpected gift to have documented so much of this unprecedented moment in history. When my children, and god willing, grandchildren are old enough to read this, it’ll sound like our grandparents’ stories of the depression.
As we all understand why grandma washed out her bread bags, our grandchildren will understand why we hoard toilet paper. We will be know as having lived through the Covid Era. We are living history in the making today.
I am writing for the 2020 Slice of Life Challenge.