There seems to be a dichotomy around us. Flowers are bursting into bloom and the sun is shining a little longer each day... yet downtowns have become ghost towns and parks are taped off. People are inside, staying safe. (And hoarding toilet paper and flour...you know who you are).
LIFE. IS. WEIRD.
The sights and sounds of an evening at the ballpark, kids laughing at the playground, the awkward (and adorable) teenagers gathering for prom pics, the graduation hooplas, and even wedding dreams that have been anticipated for years have all been postponed, cancelled, or moved online.
COVID-19 has changed every single life.
For those of you who are hurting, grieving, lonely, tired, struggling, depressed, anxious, mourning the loss of a job or a loved one… I am so sorry. Your loss is real and needs to be acknowledged. I wish I could give you a hug. You need one. We all need one (or a million.)
Coming from someone who has studied grief (and walked through my fair share of losses), it is important to acknowledge the pain and make space to feel all those feely-feels. Journal, cry, punch your pillow, sift your way through the stages of grief—all those things.
Thanks to COVID-19, I’m working from home and giving homeschool my best shot for our three school-aged kids (while managing a very cute but very needy one-year-old), and we’ve shed our fair share of tears.
How many buckets would all the world’s COVID tears fill?
But it's equally important to set a timer and let yourself step away from the pain at times to seek joy and growth, movement and renewal. Through this choice, I believe we can even find causes for celebration.
So I put my head together with Danielle Poe, a fashion icon and entrepreneur from Birmingham who started “Jagged Edge Jewelry” two years ago (check out her story in our Wanderlust (July/Aug) 2020 issue). Pre-quarantine, Danielle worked from home creating jewelry pieces to place in boutiques across the country while her five-year-old son, Jag, attended a school for kids with special needs. Now, she’s homeschooling Jag while her essential worker husband works full-time. Oh, how life has changed.
When we began chatting, it became evident right away that our original article idea—“How to work from home with high-needs kids hanging around”—wasn’t the one we were supposed to write. It was this. A million times over.
5 Shiny Silver Linings of Quarantine 2020
Families are learning how to be families again.
Communication is being relearned around the dinner table and in the backyard as games of tag and tickle monster sprout up out of nowhere. Without the endless distractions and running from thing to thing, there is time to read aloud, sing, play piano, have dance parties, play games, smell the roses, and love each other well.
Y’all are getting creative in the fitness department.
YouTube yoga and cross training video views are at an all-time high. Home exercise equipment is getting dusted off and seeing the light of day. Bikes are being taken for more spins than they have in years. Turns out burpees, pushups, and squats can make you just as sore as that fancy gym equipment you were used to. Also, see #1. Who knew tag with kids was an excellent anaerobic exercise?
This time with our kids is a gift.
They were in school 35 hours a week and are missing 10-12 weeks of school. College students were away and now they’re home. We’re talking HUNDREDS of hours apart from one another and now we are together. And that’s not even counting sports and activities.
Parents are discovering their kids’ brilliance, the people they’re growing into. Sure, they wake up too early/late, eat too many snacks, complain and get LOUD, and require >100% of our energy. But they’re hilarious.
There are so many moments we are being gifted. For Danielle, one of those moments was catching Jag dancing ALL OUT to Koo-koo Kangaroo, completely unaware she was watching. I caught my seven-year-old daughter passionately singing High School Musical into her full-length mirror.
God has given us this time to settle into a more simple rhythm with our kids. The schooling will resolve itself. Don’t stress! Just squeeze them, read them one more book, and kiss them on the forehead. This time won’t last forever.
Kindness is abounding.
Businesses are transforming their operations to create essential supplies such as masks (like Mississippi brand Blue Delta Jeans) and breathing machines. Photographers are blessing people with the front porch project to remember this time in our families’ history. Neighbors are dropping off groceries and “smile boxes” on one anothers’ door steps. Notes of encouragement, gratitude, and “hello” are being mailed through actual mailboxes.
There is a renewed gratitude for the simple things.
The sunrise. The steam from your coffee hitting your face as you slowly sip from your favorite mug, signifying new morning mercies. The smell of banana bread in the oven. The freckles on your child’s face. Gardening. A friendly smile and “hello” from a passerby. All the items on your grocery list being in stock. Birds chirping. Deep breaths and painted sunsets.
The list goes on, and surely yours is different from ours. I would encourage you to take the time to journal your own thoughts as we all walk through this season in history together. Can you imagine reading your great grandparents’ journals through the Great Depression?
As you look out your open window at the lush green grass and the blooming trees, take a deep breath. Drink it in. Let the silver linings come into focus. This too shall pass.