I can see it coming, and yet I can’t see it at the same time: that moment when Covid lockdown finally lifts, fully and completely. Maybe that upcoming lifestyle won’t resemble the “old normal,” but the clinging fear and timidity and obsession over clean surfaces and safe-to-breathe air will have settled into something that doesn’t raise my blood pressure…as life after lockdown begins again.
Yesterday my son was telling me that he missed seeing his grandparents while we waited to make sure that my mom and dad’s Covid test results were negative (they’d just returned gtom their first essential airplane trip). My daughter piped up to tell my husband that she misses him when he goes to work (something he hasn’t been doing for quite a while now).
We love being a work-at-home family.
The person most surprised by this revelation is my husband, James. We love seeing Daddy at lunch, going for a family jog once a week (Mom and Dad on foot, the kids on their bikes). We love getting to take charge of our yard because we live close to it and have the mental space to address it. And we’ve finally hired our first-ever help us keep with the weeds! Hallelujah! James and I took that as a step to lessen my feeling of being overwhelmed (something I’m often, ironically, too overwhelmed to do). We love our weekly family movie night. We take more evening walks together. The kids didn’t used to love these, but my daughter asks for them now.
I still have stress levels associated with cabin fever, but that strain of “I can never get it all done” has lessened now that I have fewer social commitments pulling at me. I’ve met at a distance with friends in my garden, which was something I’d always longed to use my garden for, but could never quite make a reality. Come have wine with me surrounded by flowers. Let’s laugh, cry, and share our lives together under the honeysuckle with the darkening sky lit by a string of glowing lights.
My daughter and son are now bunkbed siblings. The crib/daybed has been disassembled and put away. She doesn’t use her pacifier anymore. She can coast on her balance bike without her toes touching down for balance. My son now reads sheet music with the deep hunger of a true musician. I’m reading The Chronicles of Narnia out loud to him. He’s begun a new game-based reading program. We’re all continuing to grow and change.
I’m seriously considering whether I can restrict my social calendar to no more than two events per week so that I reduce how much I snap and struggle around my family. I’ve made new realizations and plans for how I want to lead and guide the writers’ groups that I’m a part of.
We’re all changing and growing. We’re missing the closeness of our church, the laughter of hanging out with good friends, remembering all the faces of the community that we can no longer have–and that Zoom meetings will never replace.
But when this is over, I’m going to miss the tenderness family has right now. In my three-year-old daughter’s eyes, our unit of four is the image of perfection. She’ll cry out, “Our whole family!” as a sigh of pleasure when she notices we are all in near proximity to each other, and she’ll hug us like she’s trying to be a glue that holds the moment in place.
I see change coming, and I don’t know what it looks like. And I long for the freedom (Happy Independence Day!), and I grieve a little for what will pass away when it comes at last.