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Category: Digging Deeper

Social Distancing in 2020

Today we are in a place I never imagined we would be. Not quite quarantined – but basically confined to our home. The threat of Coronavirus – COVID-19 has taken over to the point where cities have banned having more than 10 people gathered in the same place. They call it “social distancing.” I call it “social isolation” or “an introvert’s dream.” If said introvert is confined with children who do not share that introversion, it isn’t quite as dreamy (not that I would know that from experience or anything).

Even though the kids are on Spring Break this week, schools have already closed for another two weeks and possibly will be closed beyond that. Schools just across the state line are ordered to be closed for the rest of the school year. Online learning is about to become the reality in our house. Businesses are sending staff to work from home. It’s all a little surreal honestly – like we’re living in the middle of a sci-fi movie.

I understand the concept. Social distancing keeps the germs from spreading. Quite frankly, the reports from other countries who have been dealing with this longer are a little terrifying. However, everything closing down is also a little terrifying and seems so extreme. On the other hand, I’ve been begging life to JUST. SLOW. DOWN. for weeks now. I guess I’m actually getting what I asked for for once.

As activities started cancelling, my kids got a little more frustrated. Soccer. Volleyball. Karate. Church. School. So far, one-on-one piano lessons are still on but that’s all we have left. It is hard to see the disappointment in their faces. They aren’t saying much, but it is there.

My daughter had a birthday this week. Our tradition of letting her choose a favorite restaurant for dinner out on her birthday was thwarted – her restaurant of choice is now closed for the foreseeable future. We substituted with Chipotle delivery, but it wasn’t what she wanted. There will be no party with her friends – at least not for a while. We will celebrate with a small family-only party this weekend, and she’s having a cousin spend the night but I know it is not the celebration she anticipated. I’m so thankful that I gave in and bought her the new phone she wanted a little early so she can at least enjoy facetime conversations with her friends she can’t see in person.

Today we’re on day 4, well technically day 6 if you count the weekend, of staying home. Other than walking the dog around the neighborhood, I have left my house a total of three times – for work on Monday (until they told us to work from home), a trip to Sam’s Club to stock up on groceries, and a quick trip to pick up meds at the pharmacy and some work supplies. Honestly, I think this is the most time I’ve spent at home since my last maternity leave…which was eight years ago.

I really have mixed feelings about the whole thing. There’s a lot of anxiety boiling up that I didn’t expect – mostly about what happens next, and how long we keep this up before returning to some kind of normal. I hate seeing my kids upset about missed activities and not seeing their friends. That part will become even harder over the next couple of weeks as this drags on. I worry about trying to do school from home, even though I know their teachers will come up with great things for them to work on. It will be challenging for my older two, but for my youngest who receives special education services at school it may get really tough. I’m trying to hold out hope that they somehow have that part covered. I do know that I am not in any way designed to be a school teacher.

There are some positive aspects of staying home though. I’m getting to spend a lot more time with my kids (when they are not holed away in their separate bedrooms). I am even more thankful for our new home, and the fact that we have enough rooms to all get away from each other when necessary. I finally am getting around to some of the projects that have been on the back burner for a while. Plus, my house got a desperately needed cleaning over the weekend!

It really is not all bad, but this whole feeling of being in limbo is strange – not knowing if two weeks from now we go back to our regular routine or if this really is the new “normal.” It has been amazing seeing how communities are coming together to help others out during these odd times. Businesses are offering so many free resources to those stuck at home. People are finding ways to reach out to each other online and connect even though we can’t do it in person. Schools and restaurants are finding ways to feed those that may be in need while businesses are shutting down. Seeing the good come out in so many ways is truly comforting. I just hope that it continues even if this social distancing thing extends way longer than any of us are currently planning for.

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Taking Stock: November

When life gets to the point of insane-crazy-i-can’t-take-one-more-thing is usually when I most feel the desire to write. Sadly, it is also the time when I can barely keep a thought straight in my head long enough to write it down. So, naturally, I’ve been wanting to write like crazy lately, but there has been absolutely no way I could do it. By the end of the day my brain is mush. Then today I came across this post by my friend Cass during a quick brain break and got inspired. I love the “Taking Stock” idea – short, sweet, and directed so my mind can’t wander too far! Here’s my take:

Making : Crocheting a Luigi Cap (of the Super Mario variety) for Zach. He saw one for sale at a carnival and really wanted it. I opted to buy the $4 ball of yarn and make it myself.

Cooking : Mostly just anything that comes frozen and can be thrown in the oven quickly (life needs to slow down). But, I’m really craving my favorite pumpkin cranberry bread recipe and suspect that it will be happening as soon as I have a chance.

Drinking : Diet Coke (always) and the last few Woodchuck Summer Time Ciders. I’m always sad when they disappear off the store shelves at the end of the summer.

Reading: The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, S.H.A.P.E. by Erik Rees, and The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller, all for a class/Bible study that I’m currently a part of. With all of that I haven’t had time for any pleasure reading other than a daily stroll through Facebook.

Trawling: Instagram – because sometimes I just want to see pretty things.

Wanting: Clothes that fit and flatter my currently more-flabby-than-it-should-be figure, and shoes that don’t make my feet hurt after being in them all day.

Looking: At the clean surface of my kitchen table because it is the only clean surface in my house at the moment.

Deciding: If I should finish this or just give up and go to bed. I’m kinda on a roll, but my eyes are getting sooooooo heavy.

Wishing: That my house would magically clean itself. I mean, who doesn’t want that?

Enjoying: Having some “alone” time in the kitchen while the rest of the fam is hanging out in the living room watching tv and playing video games. It’s kind of the best of both worlds, though it would be better if my comfy chair could also be in the quiet kitchen with me.

Wondering: If I will ever feel like there is enough time to do it all, or if I will just always fill 110% of the time I have and always feel like there is never enough.

Loving: Firebrand Collective and everything they are doing for the KC creative community. I just wish my schedule allowed me to participate in more of their awesome hangouts and co-working times.

Pondering: Whether or not I want to go back to school, or better yet, whether I have the stamina to keep up with it, a full-time job, a side business, and my family.

Listening: To Caleb describing why he needs to get the toothpicks wet that he’s carrying around.

Considering: Whether or not I should be concerned about the fact that he is carrying toothpicks around and needing them to be wet.

Buying: Christmas gifts….ssshhhhh!

Watching: This Is Us. Best new show that I’ve seen recently. It’s not quite filling the Parenthood hole yet, but I am definitely enjoying it.

Hoping: That I get to sleep in tomorrow morning without being disturbed. For the first time in at least two months, we have nothing scheduled for Saturday morning.

Marvelling: At my friend’s brand new grandson and the crazy progression of time. His mother was barely three when I first met her and now she has her own baby boy.

Cringing: At the current political climate of the United States. I’m both anxious and terrified for the upcoming election.

Needing: A good night’s sleep – preferably more than the five or so hours I normally get.

Questioning: Why I’m still doing this even though I probably should be in bed sleeping.

Smelling: Home. But I kinda wish I was smelling some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at the moment.

Wearing: Jeans and a hoodie – my favorite Fall/Winter combo

Admiring: My friends who stand firm in their beliefs and are not afraid to speak their mind, no matter who the audience may be.

Bookmarking: Pixeden. I found some awesome textures to download that really completed some recent photos I took. I’ll definitely be visiting there again.

Disliking: That the days are getting so much shorter. I hate leaving for school/work when it is still dark outside and I hate even more that it is dark when I come back home. I need the sunlight.

Feeling: Overwhelmed and worn out. Between our crazy family schedule and a huge software changeover at work I just feel like I haven’t had any time to just be. I’m actually welcoming the slow down of winter this year.

Helping: My kid with lots and lots of homework. We had to crack down a bit after we found out that it wasn’t getting completed (even when we were told it was) and actually handed in. Now I’m on homework duty nightly to make sure it is finished and to help as necessary.

Hearing: Mythbusters on the TV. My kids absolutely love watching it and I love that they are actually learning while they watch it.

Celebrating: A successful first volleyball season for Evie. Her team may not have won a lot of games (or, you know, any) but she learned a lot about volleyball and how to work together as a team and had a blast doing it. We’re both looking forward to the Spring season!

Pretending: That I have it all together and that I can actually get 19,384,230 things done in a 24-hour period.

Embracing: The craziness of this life. We’ve had a wacky, super-full schedule lately but it is winding down after busy sports seasons and adjusting to a new school schedule. Now it is time to start the holiday craziness instead!

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What Makes Us

Our experiences make us who we are. We hear that simple statement so many times during our lives, albeit in many different forms. But it’s true, isn’t it? Everything that happens in our lifetime molds and shapes us into who we are from infancy through our eventual death.

This idea of experience has hit me several times during the last several days, both through personal challenges and exterior observations. I’ve been thinking a lot about how my lifetime experiences have shaped me into who I am now, and about how I am shaping those around me simply by being me. I see glimpses of myself in my kids, both good and bad at times.

I think about Caleb, who spent the last 9 months or so attending Montessori school – an opportunity my other two children did not have. He learned a lot of skills there that they will learn or have learned over time, through home or other sources, but he has had this amazing experience that they will never have.

My daughter is getting ready to head off to a new school next year where she will have so many opportunities for learning beyond what is offerered in a traditional school classroom. How will that change her and shape her life differently than if she continued on her current path? I can’t wait to see.

My oldest son, who has struggled for so long, had the best school year he has ever had thanks to a teacher who really cared about finding ways to make things work for him. Changing a few things both environmentally and procedurally made a huge difference for him. He now has a positive outlook on school where it has always been a little negative.

Our work environments, our social environments, our Spirituality, our teachers and mentors, our friendships – all of it makes us who we are. I am not the same person I was even three short years ago. That time in my life seem so far away now. Not that life is perfect by any means, but losing my job may have been one of the best things that ever happened to me. It forced me to change my environment and get out of my comfort zone where I could grow instead of remaining stagnant.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this rambling, disjointed entry so I’m just going to publish it and call it good. This is just what I’ve been thinking about.

**random picture of my boy just because!

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My Why

my kids - my why

They are my why. Because I want to be there for them. Because I want to capture their childhood. Because I want to support them. Because I want to push them and encourage them to be who they are. Because I never want them to settle for less. Because I want them to dream. Because I want them to know that if you work hard enough and keep trying, even when you fail, eventually those dreams can and will come true. They are my why…for everything.

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2015 Is Here

We are four days into the new year, and today, more than ever I am reminded of how quickly the time passes by. Last night I had on my comfy, well-worn Garth Brooks hoodie. The one I bought at the concert we attended here in KC years ago…in 2007. I only know it was 2007 because the year is front and center on the hoodie, along with the words “Kansas City” and “I was there!”

As I got myself ready for bed last night, I stared at that ’07 in the mirror, somewhat in disbelief that so many years have passed since that night. The details came flooding back in an instant. The frustration that my babysitter backed out on me at the last minute, relief in finding a friend that was willing to watch Zach when our original plans fell through. I remember singing all of the old familiar songs, side by side with my sister, just as we had done when we were younger. I remember feeling Evie move in my tummy for the first time that night, as I felt the beat of the music vibrate under my feet. I remember the lights, the joy in finally seeing an artist I had admired for so long right in front of me.

How could it be that that night happened over seven years ago? As hard as it is to believe, I know it is true, because that little baby wiggling in my tummy that night is now nearly seven years old. So much time has passed, yet it feels like only yesterday.

Those few moments I spent reminiscing sent me into a spiral of deep thoughts (I’m not sure when the last time I actually had a deep though was, so it needs to be recorded somewhere). I suppose it is the time of year when everyone, voluntarily or not, does a bit of evaluation on their life. A “What have I done in the last year?” kind of thing. For me, because I was suddenly rushed back to 2007, I started thinking, “What have I done in the last 7 years that really mattered?” And, well, the list was much shorter than I would have liked for it to be. There are so many things I wish I would have done, missed opportunities to do good in the world that I passed up or just completely missed because I was too busy living in my own little world.

I’m reading a book called “Love Does” by Bob Goff, which has me thinking a lot about why I say yes or no when the opportunity to do something good comes up. The easy answer is no. It takes little effort. It allows for selfishness and laziness, which are two things I struggle with all the time. But why not say “yes” and see where it leads? Why not give a little more of myself to do good for others? What good can any of us do without action? After all, Love Does.

In 2015 there are so many things I want to do – personal goals, fitness, business, parenting, financial. More than I can possibly accomplish in a year when I add in all of the other responsibilities that stand before my “wants”. I have a list that could go on for miles, but the reality of time is that very little of it will actually happen. When 2015 comes to a close, what I want the most is to be able to say that I added something good to the world, that I did something that made a difference in someone else’s life and changed it for the better. I want to know that I did at least a tiny little thing to make the world a better place.



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