Tonight at the dinner table I sat locked in a staring contest with my 1 year old. Suddenly she started to meow like a cat. I blinked, she won. And that’s how Sunday dinner goes in the Wakefield house these days. I live with a cast of characters. To be clear, I’ve known that for a while. But these past few weeks, being trapped in my house with them has been a crash course in the power to reconnect, even in the age of social distancing. There’s a funny video floating around the internets of a man being told that because of coronavirus, he is going to be quarantined. He has a choice. Does he A quarantine with your wife and children or B… and before the full option can be provided the man chooses A. It’s hilarious because it’s at least a little bit true for all of us.
While few of us would have chosen the challenges that have come with recent times, if we’re honest, we’re finding that this crisis brings opportunities. What are you learning in this season? I’m noticing that we eat more family dinners, smile and wave more at our neighbors, take more walks, and go on more bike rides. And these are all good things. All of these small moments that we used to ignore, or be too busy for are now, are all we have now it seems. And it turns out, they’re a lot of what we’ve been missing.
Sure, these are difficult times. Just earlier today I had to remind my mother to “stay out these streets” (to which she reminded me that she’s a grown a*ss woman, but she’ll do her best). Virtual learning has had its ups and downs over the past 3 weeks as we’ve acclimated like millions of other families to this new virtual reality. And forget about trying to balance work and four kids running around the house. The best thing we’ve done is create a schedule that gets us through the day (hint most of it involves hours of outdoors free-play time for the big ones, nap time for the little ones, and rest time for the adults before 8am and past 8pm). Yet we still collapse exhausted at the end of each day. We know we’re outnumbered, but we have no choice. We have to find a way to survive.
Here’s a thought…what if there’s something good that comes out of this after all? And what if the good outweighs the bad? If you’re not currently journaling or chronicling during this season, I encourage you to do so. Certainly this season of life is worth documenting, if only for the lessons learned.
It’s easy to take the long view when you’re at the end of the arc. What if we could start now? Looking back over a few of my journal entries over the past few weeks, here’s a few highlights from what I’ve chronicled through my experiences thus far (Covid-19 journal editions*).
Pre-Shelter in Place: Getting Ready
Today we went to the grocery store and spent a ton of money stocking up on food and pantry items in preparation for impending potentially drastic measures in the face of this spreading pandemic we’re calling the coronavirus. Honestly, at times it’s kind of scary, other times we’re making so many jokes to deflect or distract from how concerning the situation really is. All the while, I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m in a position of privilege where I can go to a store and spend money, or even adjust my work schedule to accommodate. What about the folks and families who don’t have the same degree of flexibility or resources? Just thinking about that made me feel extremely grateful, and also decidedly committed to doing something to play our part in easing this crisis for someone else.
Can I hang? End of Week 1
It’s the end of my first full week home with all the girls trying to set a schedule, teach them, etc…and I’m simply tired. Literally nothing goes according to my plan. Every. Single. Day. You know how I hate that. Guess this is my opportunity to learn some flexibility. I don’t like that either lol. I mean, we did get some stuff done and we even celebrated Riley’s birthday (albeit at home without fanfare- just the way she likes it of course!). Still, everything about each day felt overwhelming, with seemingly no end in sight. And, forget about cleaning anything. And why do these people eat all day? I’ve got to find a way to regroup and rest up because I know that tomorrow they’re coming for us. (referring to my children).
Rays of hope: End of Week 2
Just racking them up! I think we’re on to something with our morning and evening yoga, bike rides, and even just the simple act of having a routine that involves all of us as a family. I don’t want to give up this newfound life that we have together right now…I want to figure out a way to learn of its essence and apply it to whatever season comes next.
Here’s what i’m learning:
• make time for the things that matter
• make time specifically for exercise
• make time for outside time
• do things together
• talk a lot about what we’re doing and why
• dream together
• have fun together
• be nice
• don’t take each other for granted
• find inspiration in everyday stuff