I’m pretty sure everyone in Wisconsin collectively went “ughhhhhhhh” all at the same time yesterday afternoon. Safer at home order extended until May 26th. Schools closed for the remainder of the school year. I could’ve guessed we were going to be hearing something like that, but it still felt heavy to actually hear it. I usually like to only share positive and happy things here, but our situation right now is a little unique. And positive and happy all the time, even though it sounds great, just isn’t real. Some days organizing your house or trying new recipes and thinking up fun activities for your kids feels like a lot. I’ve had a few days of feeling a little blah and so instead of the usual upbeat, here are just some “real” thoughts today. I’ll be back to the upbeat tomorrow. It always helps me to write some things down so this is a little heart-spill of things because yesterday was a weird day…
We’ve been in the thick of quarantining for about a month now and my brain, or maybe it’s my heart, still isn’t fully accepting what’s going on. Every day I have this lurking thought that this can’t be real life. Some mornings when I first wake up I forget for a few minutes until I remember that we’re still dealing with this yucky time. Ughhh. I can’t believe how just a month ago this seemed so different. I remember thinking okay, so a couple weeks of quarantining and then we’ll be back to business as usual. And then every day since then the “feeling” of this is different. What I thought was just going to be a little blip on our radar is turning into something that future generations will learn about in history class, and I just never considered that life would get turned upside down for us.
I’m sure like most of you are feeling too, my overall mood and mindset are constantly going from baseline happy to full-on anxiousness. Just reading one sad article online kind of sends every happy thought I had about the day out the window and it’s really tough to get back to feeling good. It’s just plain hard to deal with. As a parent it’s even worse because all I want to do is make the right decision for my kids’ sake. I feel like my main job on this earth is to protect them, both physically and mentally. And when part of the world is saying this will be over in a month and then the other part is saying this won’t be over for a couple of years… that doesn’t make me feel very confident in any decision that I might make. Will letting them touch the mail on accident put them at risk for getting sick? Dear God, I hope not. Will not seeing their friends and family for months on end make them sad or change their developing personalities? I pray that it doesn’t. Parenting was already hard, and now some days it seems impossible to get it right.
So here we are. I try pretty much every day to downplay this to the kids. Just this morning my six year old said “I kind of wish this corona thing never even happened.” I can tell that they feel like some parts of this quarantine just aren’t fun anymore. It’s getting old for the kids and I can feel that too. They were even a little bummed about not going back to school. I mean the thought of a break from school was cool at first, but my heart hurt for them yesterday because I could see them processing what that really meant. When they said “so, does that mean that I won’t get to be with my teacher anymore?” I had to try really hard not to cry. When my daughter asked this morning if this means that in a month we can go to a restaurant and sit down inside, I said “yeah, the virus stuff will be over soon and then we can.” But can we? Even if we legally can, will we? I don’t know. For the foreseeable future, will we ever do “normal” things without worrying about germs? Probably not. Will we get to reschedule our trips later this year that we postponed? Who knows. I mean do you remember back a few months ago when you felt like you were going above and beyond by wiping down your cart handle at Target just to make sure you didn’t get a cold or the flu that was going around? My point is that as much as we downplay this for our kids’ sake or for our own sake – it’s so not a little thing. This is a huge deal for all of us.
Also, lately I’ve been feeling nervous about going back to normal, if that’s really in the foreseeable future – anyone else? I’m worried that I won’t do justice to the opportunity we’ve been given to slow down. Like I think that I realize what parts of the pre-quarantine life that I don’t want to go back to – but what if I get it wrong? Will I feel like I’m letting my kids down when work picks up and gets busier like it used to be? I just know that it’s going to feel so strange to get swept back up into the normal again. I’m ready, but sometimes I’m not ready. I know that living through this (and now I sound super dramatic) will change all of us. And making sure that I come out of this the way that I hope I do is just one more thing on my worry list.
So, if you made it to here, thanks for listening. I haven’t actually sat down and had one of those real good cries yet over this whole ordeal… I keep hoping that it’ll end soon and then I won’t have to. I kind of feel like our brains and our hearts have just been going non-stop for the past four weeks. That’s why so many of us can hardly sleep at night these days. We’re tired from thinking and worrying all of the time. So, make sure that you’re giving yourself some grace and know that if this is affecting you in a major way, you’re not alone. I’m feeling a little better just from writing down these words. I’m off to focus on some happy things instead – the kids and I have a fort to build and some cookies to bake.