During this six-month COVID abyss, families are either closed-in together or closed-off from each other. I’m not sure which is better, or worse, but we can all agree, it is not our normal.
I have read and heard of families closed-in together and how finding quiet time and alone time can be impossible. As stressful as this is, it is also a gift. You are gifted a slower pace, time to be together, time to bond, and yes—time to get on each other’s nerves.
Our backyards have become an escape, a park, and an oasis. Even if it’s not.
The backyard is a sanctuary, even in this heat. Like a lot of people, gardening is a new pastime. And, I’ve taken up bird-watching. I’ve even had some nice conversations with the squirrels.
So, if you think you’re going crazy with all the kids, the grass isn’t greener on the other side.
While you were cuckoo with the kids, I was closed off from my family.
We went from February to July before seeing our children and my parents. And sadly, what brought us out of sheltering-in-place was a funeral. We usually see our kids regularly. And that’s how I prefer it. Two live in Waco, and the youngest lives in Austin. We are close, and we enjoy each other’s company.
But during this time, because I’m immune-suppressed and my youngest is a therapeutic riding instructor working with immune-suppressed children, we’ve all stayed apart. And this is hard for this mom.
And because our parents are in their 80’s, we’ve stayed away from them for their safety. I miss our parents and feel we have wasted precious time together this year.
But as COVID has reminded us many times this year, time apart is wasted precious time. It’s not only been a year of staying away; it’s been a year of saying goodbye.
We lost my brother-in-law in March, an aunt, an uncle, and my other brother-in-law in July. These were not due to COVID, but too many broken hearts just the same. Too many goodbyes.
I have much to be thankful for—our health, our love, and communication. I am thankful for texting, phone calls, and Facetime. I’ve enjoyed Zoom calls with writing friends, and we’ve had outside gatherings, six feet apart. While I don’t prefer social distancing, it is better than nothing.
I’ve embraced my home alone time, with my butt-in-chair writing and revising. I’m determined to make this year count for something. Something positive.
So, while you are home with your children, embrace the moment. Spend time together, laughing, dancing, and learning new things. And remember the gift you’re receiving.
And remember the ones who are being safe, alone.
This, too, shall pass. And until it does, we do what we do to get through.