Never in my life did I think that quarantining would be a real thing. We are into our third week at home, and it still feels as weird as it did the first day. There is this odd conglomeration of feelings from mad, sad, joy, hope, and more. There are many days that I feel a little lost in what I should be doing with my day even though the to-do list is a mile long. But there have been some beautiful peaceful moments as we create different memories as a family.
And while I do want to acknowledge the joys in this time of waiting, I also want to wallow and process the weirdness of this time. There are so many privileges that have made me feel all the things, and many are things that I would never have guessed
I never thought I would have to cancel our first family vacation.
Since George was born, we have not taken a family vacation with just our core unit that did not coincide with another event like a wedding. There were a lot of things that impeded us in the past, such as our jobs and the size of our children. This year we planned a spring break trip with just the four of us, and it was heartbreaking to cancel that potential memory. We also have an extended family vacation planned for July that will be the first flights for the kids and the first time seeing the ocean. I know it seems trivial, but I will be devastated if he have to break it to the kids that Florida is not in our summer plans. We had big hopes of making this a summer big and flashy since George is off to big kid school in the fall.
I never thought I wouldn’t watch my students go through graduation.
Spring graduation is a beautiful sight. We have a wonderful ceremony that has so many beautiful elements of poetry uniting their first steps on campus to their walk across the stage. I have been known to dress up as our mascot and help pump them up as the line to walk into our gym. This one as going to be special because it was the graduating class of my first freshmen seminar class that I taught, and I was excited to celebrate with my students on how far they had come. While there are still accolades to be had for them, I am sad for all of them missing this big moment.
I never thought that I would dislike working from home.
I have always had this illusion that working from home was this magical thing where I can whip through projects while also cutting down on time away from kids by not having my commute. I had this vision that there would be so much more free time allotted to me. There was this allure that it was my introvert dream to have an home office. I am here to tell you though, that it is not for me. I feel very scatterbrained most days. I am on week two of actually working, and I still don’t feel like I have a good routine down. (I forget to get myself breakfast many days.) I feel like I have no way to compartmentalize my day. It’s like my brain needs an environment change to switch things off. I have found that it is easy for me to work a little extra each day (night) and even some on the weekends because I thought of something and well my desk is right in front of me while we binge on the Tiger King. I also REALLY miss actually walking to and from meetings. Even if it is right next door I need to get up and move to a different seat for the love. Back to back Zoom meetings all day are exhausting.
I never thought it would take a pandemic to reunite with old friends.
I think I always thought “Oh we’ll get together again some day.” Or I would message them periodically through social media, but nothing like it used to be. This pandemic oddly enough has brought some of those relationships back, and I never thought I would be grateful for a global crisis to do that.
I never thought as an introvert I would miss social events.
If there was ever a walking definition of introvert, that would be me. While I don’t dislike social events, I pick them wisely and sparingly. I don’t like things that I cannot prepare for and large crowds are not my thing unless I can sit and not be perceived to be a wallflower. It generally takes me a long time to recoup from a social outing, so one would think that this isolation is really my jam. And in some ways it is, but I do miss the connection of being with people outside of the walls of my house. Or even just having people over to our house! I honestly never thought I would miss those things due to my homebody nature, but I cannot stop thinking about all the lunch dates and events that I want to put on my calendar!
I never thought I would not be celebrating my 35th birthday outside of these walls.
This one is hitting me pretty hard honestly. I love birthdays. Like LOVE. I don’t generally love the spotlight and I would never ask for people to make a big deal, but I love making a big deal about my birthdays. It just brings joy to me, and I think it removes the stigma that getting older is sad and not something to embrace. And 35 just seemed really special this year. I was really looking forward to making plans and hitting this mile marker in life. And now I don’t even know if we will be able to get ice cream cake at that point! I am just really sad and honestly it is making me feel awful about my age for the first time in my life.
I never thought Daphne would not get to have her third birthday party.
On the theme of birthdays, while our stay at home order is over in April, there are many sites that are predicting Missouri’s peak to be around Daph’s birthday. So just like mine, there is so much sadness in not putting on a show for her. I feel like year three was when it really hit for George that it was his day, and I was so excited to make this a big deal for her. Her theme was going to be so sweet and so her for her love of stuffies. While we can still celebrate and make it big for her little world, I just feel guilt in missing what it could have been with family and friends.
I never thought I would not be able to go to the dentist.
Y’all, I am weird, but I love to go to the dentist. It is a moment of pride when they give me the all clear that I don’t have anything going on. And I love getting my teeth cleaned. So when I got the call last week that they were postponing mine and Daph’s appointments until the pandemic is over, I was sad. They had rescheduled several times, so I had a glimmer of hope that I would still have my routine check-up, so it was a hard hit to have that taken away. I really feel like I am being put in time out for something I didn’t do.
I never thought that George’s first school experience would end without us seeing a preschool concert and preschool graduation.
If any parent tells you that they aren’t excited to see their little 4/5 year olds wear a cap and gown, I mean come on. And I was so excited for this to wrap up the year for George. He has loved school and his teacher, and I KNOW he would have loved all his people watching him be George up on a stage waving that little diploma. While it may seem like it a small accomplishment to outsiders, it is a huge accomplishment for our small person. And you know he would have put on a good show at a concert! While they haven’t completely cancelled the year yet, I am preparing my heart for it.
I never thought I would find myself cloroxing my groceries.
As Tom and I sat on our dining room floor with all of our groceries sprawled out so we could wipe each item down, I was taken aback. A month ago, how different our lives were, as I am sure they will be a month from now. Never in a million years, did I think that me wearing gloves and taking a bottle of sanitizer with me to the grocery store be a normal thing. Never would I have believed I would be cleaning my groceries and leaving them out to disinfect before I put them away. Here I am changing clothes after my trip to the store and wiping every surface I touch along the way.
This is hard. I know logically many of these things are pretty trivial, but I feel that we are all grieving missed things and lost plans.
This week in our sermon, the pastor shared about Silent Saturdays. Jesus’s followers had a silent Saturday before the resurrection. They mourned in silence. They didn’t know what was going to happen next and felt lost. (While this wasn’t the exact sermon, this is a great summary of Silent Saturday in much more eloquent words than mine.)
And here we are. We know that this will end someday, but here we are in our Silent Saturday. We are grieving and there is so much unknown.
However, there is faith and hope to lean into. There is so much to be grateful for. I am thankful for my family, my health, and the opportunity to still do a job that I am passionate about.
But that doesn’t mean that parts of this doesn’t hurt, aren’t scary, and aren’t downright crummy.
I just have to believe that our “Sunday” will come, and on that day there will be much celebration.
“Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7 NKJV)