Framed above my small but comfy work office space at home, I stare at cursive words marking my wall, taking each line in and smiling softly.
Our Family is a circle of Strength & Love. With every birth and union the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more Love. Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.
I’ve never looked at this more than I have in the past months. I’ve had this frame since my boys were little and it never occurred to me how much meaning would be behind it until now, or should I say until the COVID-19 crisis that hit the world arrived. You never know how strong a family bond is until something that rocks its core, leaving carnage in its wake tries to crumble your foundation. So, it just started with me putting every single word down of what I’ve felt and what was important to paper. Once I finished, out of everything, one word kept standing out, family. I hope I can give a little of my perspective of how I’m coping and maybe add a little smile here and there.
Anyone freaked out by the potential lockdown of the city again? I’m taking it as a long breather from life. There may be others like me that have no problems with it. The hustle and bustle of taking my boys to practices, games, events can be challenging. Running errands and still working full time while trying to solve the mystery of a rare disease that my body is battling sucks. The phrase, ‘The struggle is real’ felt like a daily chant just to make another 24hrs, try to rest, and do it all again. To know that I now have time to slow down, hit the pause button on the daily grind of raising a family is like a breath of fresh air. How many times do we ask ourselves what happened to the day? I need more hours to get this done, or, man I wish I had more time and everything seems to fast forward. I have to do this, that, and the other. Well, it looks like we have been given it.
Though the reality of what has happened in the world is unimaginable, and utterly tragic, is it a sign for some of us? This can be taken physically, spiritually, or however your thought process is. And I say this because some have lost jobs or homes. Some are still trying to make ends meet. Some have lost loved ones, through death from the illness or separation because they actually have to take the time and they realize they really don’t know one another. I ask myself that all the time. Had this not happened, where would I be? I shudder in how it was and how it is and I realized, I was missing my family. That binding that I always imagined would stay secure was slowly loosening.
The first time I made dinner during the pandemic in spring, we all ate at the dining room table… together. Wow, imagine such a concept. Everyone was home; no rush to hurry up and go to practice or save a plate because someone wasn’t there. Not only that, but it was real dinner that took time to prepare. When I sat down at the table, I realized how happy it made me. There were no electronics and we actually took time and talked, like it should always be, like a normal dinner should be. Of course, most of the main focus has been the pandemic, but my husband and I are able to educate our boys because it is hard to explain to teenagers and a tween why this person cannot come over or why you cannot hang out here and there. Crafts, DIY projects, and movies nights are the favorites of the house right now and I’m enjoying every single minute. We don’t get this time back with our loved ones so take advantage because I can almost guarantee when everything gets back to normal, we’ll be singing the tune of where did the time go?
Masks are Mandatory in Stores. When I saw the headline in the summer, I thought, ok, no big deal. It makes me feel better if I need to leave to pickup groceries or head to the doctor. I hear the news, hear people say it is taking away our liberties. No, actually its not. If you walk into a convenience store or even retail store one of the first things you typically see on the outside doors is a sign that reads NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE. So what is the difference? No one has complained about that taking away our liberties because you have to wear a shirt or shoes. No one is complaining about the simple rules and laws we abide by everyday. This is a small piece of material that covers your nose and face outside. Because we don’t know if someone gets the virus how their body will respond, wouldn’t it just be easier to wear it for the time you have to be out? Nothing crueler than to know that so many people are so angered by a simple gesture, a selfless act that could save a loved one’s life. I’ve known someone who passed away from this and two others that were hospitalized. I would hate to bring an illness back like this to my boys or my husband and they become one of the 250,000 people who don’t recover. Maybe it’s not about the mask, but more about everyone from every walk of life being equal for once?
Inside…all the time. I should get a T-Shirt for that. I mean, I do get out, I try to walk once a week and enjoy what nice weather we have left, but other than my porch or patio or occasional run to the store for groceries, I’m in and it’s quite lovely. I was never really home much before so it’s a change. I’m very careful with who comes to visit and if they come in the house and I’m particular about the little friends who want my boys to go play outside. At first, my three understood what was happening and why I was nervous about them being out. We are all high risk, but me especially, so there was not too much of a fuss about my decision. Lately, it’s been harder to keep that resolve because I do understand the need to socialize, but I do not want to get so lax that something could happen. Since they have some friends that are high risk we do allow them to go out from time to time. I never thought I would say this, but I’m so glad they have video games to occupy them on the weekends because they can still talk with friends.
I have let my creative streak come out. My husband probably is not a fan because when I get off work for the day and push my chair in, I’m always walking around the house, looking for things to make, or fix, or hang. He has to leave for work and I don’t so I may need to sneak projects in when he’s gone now. It’s amazing how much you have and can craft with ideas from Google and dare I say, Pinterest. A picture we had for years was put up and for three days no one noticed until it randomly fell as my husband walked by. Our little one was witness to this. The little Perry Parrot told on me. I won’t give up!
Let me just say that I love my boys with all my heart… but I cannot wait for them to get back to school in person. Don’t get me wrong, the remote learning structure has come a long way since the pandemic started and we can all follow along with more ease for our district but, yikes! I give kudos to parents who year round have their children home schooled. “There should be no excuse to fail a class,” I tell one of them as I look at grades. “For goodness sake, you’re there less hours now so why are you not finishing your work when you have time. Do I need to sit next to you?”
And of course we have to have the fighting and tattling back and forth because it wouldn’t be fun without the he said, they said going on. Even the dog has been ratted out a time or two. Oh, and it seems as though groceries are missing faster and faster after I buy them because of the invisible gremlins that have been in the house for years and I have been unable to catch. They eat all the food, leave wrappers around and blame the children because "they didn’t do it." I think we need indoor cameras to set around the house well hidden… hmmm.
You really don’t know until you face unfortunate circumstances as a family unit how things will be. Yes, it’s hard, and yes it is tiresome, and yes, all emotions are on full throttle. Everyone has their good days and bad. We don’t seem to read about good vibes anymore so I take what I can. It’s not a shield I’m wearing, but a sponge. I’m absorbing the issues and squeezing out as much of the bad as I can without dampening much of the good things. With all the crazy out of this world I want to be the one to say when I get older and talk to my grandkids that Grammy and Pops loved hard, cared hard, fought hard to make sure that in the adversity we lived through, we did it together, as a family with a positive spin of things.