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.