The other day it all hit me. The stress. The exhaustion. The impossible juggling of work and schoolwork, cleaning and cooking, cooking, cooking. The impossible madness of this new quarantine life. And I lost it. On camera of course.
I truly believe a good rant can make a mom feel better. And today I do. I feel better. And as much as this sheltering-at-home sucks, there have been some silver linings.
The sky is bluer. I swear it is. It looks like someone took the sharpening tool in Photoshop and eased it up just enough to make everything more vivid. It’s truly beautiful in a way I’ve never seen before living my life under polluted skies all these years.
It’s quieter. All of the freeway and airport noise that normally assaults me has died down, and it’s blissful. All I hear are the birds tweeting in the yard. I actually had a moment where I wondered why I’ve never heard them before. “Did they just migrate here this spring?” I recently thought. Nope. It’s just I could never hear them over the chaos of modern life.
My family eats dinner together every night. This was a goal of mine as a mom. I always wanted to be the family that ended the day sharing a meal. And for years we managed it. But then work/commute/sports got in the way and in the past year we rarely shared a meal. Until now.
Life has slowed down. Our lives are usually so hectic. Running here, driving there. Evenings packed with activities piled on top of one another, stressing about juggling pick ups and drop offs that are always inevitably all at the same time. It’s been wonderful to just stop. Stop all of the driving around and endless activities and just pause.
We’re wasting less. Until now, we could always go to the store to replace what we wanted. We could slather on the butter and there would always be more. Now we have to be careful. Some things are impossible to get (ahem, I’m looking at you, toilet paper). And even if things are still on the shelves, going to store is fraught with stress. Delivery services are overwhelmed and even if you can get a delivery slot, I worry about putting those people at risk. If the goal is to limit people moving around, we need to limit our trips to the store. And be more mindful of wasting precious resources. (Again, looking at you, toilet paper.) It’s a bittersweet lesson, but a valuable one. We have been lucky enough to live lives of plenty, there has always been enough food on our table, and being forced to understand the value of that food and learn to waste less has been a humbling lesson. One I hope the kids and I remember for the rest of our lives.
My kids have stepped up. My kids have been helping much more around the house. They did it reluctantly at first, but now they just do the dishes after dinner WITHOUT ME ASKING. It’s a freaking coronavirus miracle. I still have to beg for the trash to go out, but I’ll take what I can get.
People are being kind. My husband went on a self-distancing run around the neighborhood the other day, and when he got back he said the weirdest thing happened. Everyone he passed smiled at him and called out a hello from their 6-foot radius. I do think we’ve all learned to value other human beings more because of this. The smile of a stranger is a true balm for the heart right now.
I’ve connected with old friends. Zoom cocktail parties have allowed me to chat with old friends I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s been great to reconnect and see their smiling faces, even if all we talk about is COVID-19.
I’ve become grateful for the little things. I’ve realized that the little things in life really are the only things that matter. I’m filled with so much gratitude right now. I’m grateful or my health and the health of my family. I’m grateful for the roof over my head. I’m grateful for my family, even if they do drive me bonkers. I’m grateful for my dog. I’m grateful I have food. I’m grateful for crappy TV. I’m grateful for the doctors and nurses and teachers and grocery store workers and delivery people and pharmacists and medical device factory workers and all of the essential people who are keeping us afloat during this pandemic. I really am so grateful.
So while this definitely sucks (and I reserve the right to have many, many, MANY more meltdowns before this COVID-19 nightmare is over) today I will embrace the positive and revel in the small silver linings. Because if we stop and look, we will see them all around us.