Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone.
– Ray LaMontagne
I am worried.
That is not news. My standard operating baseline includes a level 8 out of 10 in worry. My motto seems to be “If I am not worrying about it, then who will?”
It is no surprise that in this time of very minimal control, I am grasping for any solid footing that I can find. If I sit in worry and anxiety for a long time, I spiral down into the abyss and land on hopeless. Hopelessness, for me, leads to anger.
There are too many of us in this house – that now feels too small – for God knows how long for me to stomp around and bark orders. My worry, anger, hopelessness are not going to get us through to the other side of this.
I tossed and turned last night thinking about a million things. How long will we be locked in this house? Do I have enough supplies? Will this lockdown help my Little Miss Heart and Lung Disease daughter’s outcome?
How will my husband work from home for an extended time? Will my son be able to start school in the fall? What if workers at the grocery store get the virus? Will the stores have to close? What if my milk supply depletes and I have to find formula for the baby?
Is my family in Alabama taking this seriously? If one of my kids gets put in the hospital but my husband and I are sick, will they be there all alone? Can dogs get this? Can fish get this? If someone I love is in the hospital, will he be alone? Will I be alone?
Spiral, spiral, spiral. I am worried for me, people I love, people I like, people I don’t like and people I don’t even know.
Then early this morning, I heard, “What stories will you tell your kids about all of this?”
They likely won’t remember anything from this time. The oldest one might, but he will probably just remember that we were all at home playing. He knows that there is a virus and we have to stay here, but beyond that I am sure he doesn’t understand.
We are taught about events in history to help us learn from them. The hope is that generations removed from the event, with the gift of hindsight, can analyze the data to identify good parts to be built upon along with bad parts that should not be repeated.
I think we have all learned a lot over the last few weeks. You would have to be living in a remote jungle without any connection to the rest of the world to have not heard of COVID-19.
What we hear on the radio and television and read online and in the paper makes us think. Regardless of what you think the cause of the virus is or when it this will end, the fact is that you have had to think about how to get though at least a few weeks without toilet paper in stores, school or even your job.
While there is a lot more history about coronavirus to be written still, this is the story I plan to tell my kids about the year 2020:
The entire world, that has been largely disjointed and scary, united for a common goal. Fear over money and health was the driving force to get most to pay attention.
There were great lessons learned about the importance of paying attention, asking questions, doing your own research and staying curious.
Be prepared and waste less. Who knew that the Depression-era rationing skills that my great aunts Gladys and Ede passed on to me would one day come in handy? Maybe we should have kept all of those aluminum pie plates and bread twisty ties from their house after all.
Individual sacrifices that felt so hard were put in place in order to save the greater good. All of these sacrifices were minor compared to what the medical personnel on the front lines faced.
Being critical or making fun of people who are scared is not helpful and never assume that you know someone’s story.
I can show them real examples of great creativity and resiliency in our community with how everyone came together to support local business, arts and organizations even when things were so uncertain.
I will be able to point to how business plans were reconsidered using a lens of compassion in order to meet the needs of the community. The deeper relationship that was formed will be what made eventual freedom from quarantine so much sweeter.
Of course we will talk about the sunshine when we played for hours in the back yard, miles of chalk pictures that we drew on the sidewalk, thousands of bubbles that we blew, many walks that we took, the stroller and scooter rides, paintings, forts, books, letters written, picnics, dance parties, theatrical plays, new neighbors we met and time together that our regular busy lives had made us forget we needed.
I will tell them about a time, built around isolation and distancing, that has never made me feel more connected.
P.S. We are only one week one of this. I reserve the right to periods of less optimism.