Truly, I have been afraid to sit down and write in the midst of this otherworldly pandemic, fearful of how my words would spill messily onto the page. I have no words of wisdom, and my feelings sway from grateful to panicked to mournful like a rickety swing, back and forth all day long.
Ironically, my guiding word this year is “Still.” Covid-19 has certainly given us a jolting smack of quiet and stillness. Before #19 hit us all like a 2×4, I, like many of you, was overwhelmed with busyness, buzzing from activity to activity like a jacked-up bumblebee.
Keep moving. Don’t rest. Wear your fatigue like a badge. You know the drill.
Now, the world has screeched to a full-stop halt, and my former action-packed life seems like a faraway dream. Was that really my life?
Now, in the stillness of social distancing, all that remains is nature, family, and long stretches of time. We’re outside, playing badminton with the no-see-ums nibbling us. Playing soccer and Twister in the driveway. Creating a homemade slip-and-slide. Taking long walks with the dog. Chasing the ice cream truck.
Weekends stretch in front of me and remind me of long summer days as a child. Before phones and the internet infiltrated our lives, we made mud pies and played hide-and-seek-freeze-tag for fun. Sometimes, we wandered to the corner Kwik-Stop and filled up on candy and orange soda.
These long days of social distancing give me a tug of nostalgia, perhaps because I haven’t been this still since 1984. I wonder if I’ll miss this stillness once life cranks back up again.
I also notice springtime more than I ever have. It strikes me as such irony that the world is blooming at the same time that a pandemic is clogging our hospitals and tragically cutting lives short. The trees and flowers, exploding with greens and pinks, seem to boast about the resilience of life.
These long days are also filled with arguing over screen-time and navigating the roller coaster of remote school. Homeschooling requires patience as big as the sky, and it is God-awful and so hard. My heart aches that my kids are missing out on their amazing teachers, friends, and teammates.
But being their teacher, if only for a moment in time, has made me see my kids in a different light. Watching them feel their way around in the midst of so many changes has given me a window into their souls. Daily, I am grateful for their resilience.
We have laughed so much: tears-rolling-down-the-cheeks, deep-belly laughs at the dumbest things (mostly poop jokes). And we’ve cried so much, the bad days and social isolation like a punch to the gut, especially for my social tweens.
Luckily, for now, we’ve been healthy. The fear, anxiety, and grief swirl around us nonetheless, and I feel a strange mix of uprooted and more grounded than ever. I try to stay squarely in the here and now, reminding myself that this is but a moment in time, a brief flicker in the narrative of our lives. The world keeps spinning, and spring blooms around us, a gentle reminder that life will go on.