down my rabbit hole: more memories of the 2020 quarantine

As I plod through my own microcosm of survival during the COVID crisis, I found that my attempts to internally process it all were falling short. Daily experiences of “the new normal” have been driving over my hyper-sympathetic nature like a tsunami. But I have a family that continues to grow, and relationships begging to be maintained. Life has not frozen in place; the gears of human existence have simply shifted to another stage of what living looks like. So, now I am attempting to ride atop this tidal wave of change and emotions by compiling what I see and hear and feel, and what I am learning about myself and others along the way.

Cheering for my son as he took his first unsteady laps of our street without training wheels, and the affirmation that life does, indeed, go on.

The joy and gratitude from watching the cars file into our church’s food pantry donation “drive-by”, as our congregation had risen to meet this need.

The survivor guilt I feel each morning knowing that, despite the risks involved, twelve miles down the road I will find a job waiting for me that provides social interaction and a paycheck.

Attempting some normalcy for our scared, homebound pregnant coworkers, by having a virtual baby shower complete with Amazon drop-off of their gifts.

The sense of helplessness in knowing the best way I can help my parents and in-laws is to stay away from them, despite the sadness that is evident during phone calls, Facetime and the occasional social distancing visits in the yard.

The virtual appointments with my patients, who display an array of confidence versus intimidation at the technology, and most of whom are just grateful to have a friendly face to see and lean on for a few minutes.

Wondering how history will judge us and our response to this period of suffering, compared to the previous generations who had to face the Great Plague and the 1918 Flu, all while living in a much less advanced world.

Watching my children dream together during their weekend “sleepover”, and the overwhelming love and serenity I feel in witnessing such an innocent moment in their lives.

Pouting and whining to myself as I watch one inch of gray roots turn into two, while psyching myself up to have my family do my dye job, and repenting for my vanity at the consequences of being over 40.

down my rabbit hole: Memories I am collecting during the 2020 Quarantine

Driveway chalk hopscotch that transformed into a Dora the Explorer-meets-American Ninja Warrior obstacle course.

Witnessing the growing bond between my children, as they homeschool together and become each other’s primary playmates, despite the six years separating them.

The great respect and gratitude I have for my husband, as he struggles daily through managing the kids while he continues a full-time job that was never meant to be virtual.

The amazing maturity developing in my daughter, as she becomes the primary homeschooling teacher for her younger brother.

The heartbreak over my son’s ongoing disappointment that he cannot rejoin his friends at school.

Hubby breaking up a homeschooling argument between the kids over whether or not “How I will become Batman” is an acceptable essay on future career goals.

The joy of watching my friends appear in a Brady Bunch-style grid, as I overcame my tech phobia and embraced my first steps into Zoom.

Listening to my extended family sing Happy 1st Birthday to my niece as we gathered to celebrate from inside 6 different homes.

Pinning my sewing project on Facetime while gossiping with my mother, since we couldn’t have our girls’ sewing night in person.

Packing my freezer like a jigsaw puzzle to fit the one-pack-per-family chicken breasts during the meat shortages.

Checking and rechecking every store I enter, hoping that the elusive TP and paper towels will appear, and instead finding what seems like a quarter mile of empty shelving (did they really carry that many paper products before?)

Standing in 45 degree rain for over half an hour, waiting to get my official almost-first-in-line toilet paper from Sam’s Club.

Walking away from the one-at-a-time line at Joann Fabrics, after no one went into that store in 15 minutes (who ever spent only 15 minutes shopping in Joann’s?)

The suspicious looks given to people either wearing masks or not wearing masks, depending on where you go.

The painful bewilderment of going to the store and wondering how many of us in the building could be Typhoid Marys.

The act of love and friendship involved in handing someone a handmade sewn face mask.

The mostly universal “we’re in this together” attitude of kindness that I find in most of the places I must venture.

The “Roosevelt Fireside Chat style” daily press conferences by Governor Cuomo on YouTube, which have become my news lifeline and the calming, reasonable voice I look forward to daily.

The protective, possessive act of supporting favorite local restaurants by ordering takeout, just because you can.

Watching the adolescent diva’s bedroom turn from day-glow hot pink to dark moody teal, as if with the paint strokes, the last vestiges of girlhood were falling away in favor of the young woman that has emerged.

The happiness in my families’ voices when they greet me as I walk in the door after work every day.

Standing out in the spring sun, thanking God that spring still comes to cheer the planet, despite the apprehension and loneliness we are all experiencing.