Sometimes I get fed up with the outside world. Okay, it happens a lot more than I’d like to admit. I get tired of socializing and dealing with people. I get sick of giving up precious time with my family and having to schedule my days around appointments and errands. It all just gets to be too much. Sometimes, I wish I could just take a break. Stay in the house and be stuck with my husband and kids; with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Just physically and mentally check-out for a little while. It sounds like such a dream.
Well…be careful what you wish for.
Entering from stage left: Covid-19.
The Coronavirus has swept the nation, and we are on week 2 of self – quarantine. We’ve been home around the clock (other than necessary grocery and essentials trips) and have been strictly practicing the art of social distancing. For an introvert like myself, this is too easy for words. My people have been training for this all our lives. But add a 5 year old and a 10 month old to the mix and things can get a little bumpy. Thankfully we have had an extremely smooth transition, as our routine has mostly remained the same as always. Although we’ve gone over the basics of what’s going on (and have given an educated reminder on proper hand washing!) the kids are blissfully unaware of the drastic changes and mass hysteria going on outside of our house. But children are intuitive. Between their daddy suddenly working from home every day, having constant media coverage playing on the TV, not having our weekly visits with family and friends, and making several trips to the store for things because WE CAN’T FIND ANY TOILET PAPER – it’s no mystery to them that things aren’t quite normal right now.
FYI: I’m obviously directing most of this toward our 5 year old. Babies have no concept of time, common sense, or pandemics. It would just be pretty rude to exclude her.
It’s so hard to try and protect your kids from things that are entirely out of your control. We’re fighting an enemy we can’t see, we’re facing something that we’ve never experienced before, and we’re trying to stay calm amidst the panic that has seeped through the country. There’s so much uncertainty and so many questions. But all of that must be pushed aside, because it’s our job as parents to provide serenity in a very chaotic time. They’re not emotionally equipped to take something like this head on, and they shouldn’t have to. We can’t protect them from what’s going on in the world or the dangers that come along with a situation like this – but we can show them how to get through it with as much ease and optimism as possible.
I want them to feel their safest inside the four walls of our home. I want them to know that we’re here to protect them in the scariest of times, and that there’s nothing we won’t get through. In addition to that, I want them to know that they’re also entitled to feel however they need to feel. I think as adults, we get really caught up in thinking we’re not allowed to feel or express our emotions. We don’t want to panic and look like the paranoid, crazy people buying everything on the shelves, or we have no right to be stressed if we don’t have it as bad as others do right now. But we can’t forget that we’re all going through this together. Every one of us, in one way or another, is dealing with the effects of this. We’re all unsure and weary. We’re hesitant and afraid. We’re stressed and confused and on edge. This is happening to all of us. Some of us are sick. Some of us are worried about our loved ones. Some of us are losing jobs and an income. Some of us are working every day and being put at risk. Some are losing business and closing doors. Some of us are missing out on the final school year and making memories you can never get back. Some are fighting an illness or disease, that is only amplified at a time like this. And some people (hi!) are at home, where their job always is, doing their best to bring normalcy and tranquility to their young children who need it most. I’m allowing myself to ride the waves of emotions through this, and encouraging my kids and everyone else to do the same. And I will tell anyone, just as if they were my son or daughter, that they’re allowed to be scared, or concerned, or angry, or unsettled. And that however they’re being affected, to know that they are not alone – in feeling it or in facing it.
Now more than ever, we’re doing our best to throw kindness and joy around like confetti. We’re offering helping hands and contributing in the small ways we can. And mostly, if I’m being honest – we’re embracing the shut down of life a little bit, too. Sometimes it takes something of this great magnitude to make you take a step back and appreciate what you have. To slow down and enjoy the simple things things you’ve been given…like hugging someone you love, or going to your favorite place without a care in the world. Hopefully, when this is all over, we won’t be so quick to take those little luxuries for granted. Until then, I’m hoping we’ll all do our part to spread an abundance of love and remember that we’re all in this together.
And in those moments that I forget that, please help to remind me. Because I really, really, really miss Target.