I have struggled with how to write this blog for weeks, because I’m not sure how to keep my first-world privilege from shining through so brightly. But alas, I am first-world privileged and if you’re reading this, then chances are you are too. Today there is sunshine over my home, safety under my roof and satisfaction in knowing my little family is huddled together. But, let’s be honest. While in pandemic mode, I have yelled at my kids and been unreasonable. I have drunk significantly more cocktails than if we were in normal life. I worked out much less and found myself at the fridge when I’m not even hungry. Sometimes, I have felt despair. I’ve watched too much TV, including Tiger King. I have mindlessly scrolled Facebook and read angry posts about hoarders of toilet paper. These are parts of COVID-19 I hope I soon forget, but I am acutely aware it could be so much worse.
So, I find the good. I am not sick with the coronavirus. I don’t personally have anyone in my immediate circle sick with COVID-19. I am finally in a decent position to absorb the economic blows we’re taking (I’m looking at you, hard lessons of 2009). I have a roof over my head, and I can still put food on the table. I am both capable and available to help my kids with their schoolwork. And, I have pretty much the best quaran-team ever.
But why then is this still really, REALLY hard? There are times-sometimes several moments in a single day- that I fight back tears for everything we’ve all lost. Even if my pandemic problems aren’t life-or-death, I have realized I am grieving anyway.
I grieve bigger things like how we still can’t plan a memorial for my dad, because we don’t know when we can safely gather again, or that my mom has to start chemotherapy in what feels like a very dangerous and lonely time. I grieve that my business is closed and I can’t see my students or staff and that our season has been upended and we have to reschedule our show.
I grieve the smaller things like our family’s trip to London and our couple’s trip to Vegas getting wiped out. I grieve that I have to wear a mask to buy groceries and all this newfound “stranger danger” with every single soul in public. I grieve with all this time together and sunshine, I can’t go places or hug my mom or take my kids out for some fun.
It’s not just the adults- even if they’re adjusting well, our kids grieve too. They are missing their school, their friends, the family they can’t see and the sports they can’t play. They are sad about field day, the spelling bee and school dances. Frankly, they are just sad about their world being shaken up and life as they know it getting really freaking weird.
But we’ve got to find the good. With so many ups and downs in these strange and scary times, we’ve got to make a sincere effort to switch off the dark thoughts and keep the lights on. We’ve got to make the choice every single morning when our feet hit the floor to dwell on the positives. When I’m in the right head space I feel so grateful for the stillness that has come upon our household in what is usually the busiest season of the year, and the fact that we haven’t felt “rushed” for a month. I can appreciate the friends, family, acquaintances and dance families who took time and made the effort to connect with me. And I am thankful for all of the sweet dancers who tuned in online to dance with their amazing teachers from their living rooms.
So much goodness can come from this experience, and it’s our duty to glean it, or everything that’s been lost along the way will have been for absolutely nothing. I hope what sticks with me are the evenings of playing cards, taking super long walks and jumping on the trampoline together. I don’t want to forget celebrating our son’s 13th birthday with just us (and having an awesome time). I want my kids to look back on how I patiently helped them with their schoolwork or how they took an entire afternoon and turned the dark, yucky space underneath the basement stairs into a “secret lair” lit by twinkling Christmas lights. I want to remember how the boys have grown closer and how much time I’ve had to hang out with my husband. I want to smile when I think about people howling at 8pm or helping a neighbor in need.
When Coronavirus Meltdown 2020 is a distant memory, in the months or years later it takes for our economy to recover and life to reboot, I am going to cling to the ideas that we are resilient, innovative and caring. We can do more for each other with less. We are surrounded with abundance and there is joy to be had and love to be experienced in even the darkest of moments. I will say I learned to take all of my fears, problems, and anxiety and hand them over to my God in faith. And mostly I hope we will all have grown in spite of the pain and learned to find the good.