The Wall

I would be lying if I said this past week hasn’t been hard. I officially hit the wall yesterday. With a pounding headache and an inability to focus, I called it and went back to bed. I shut my eyes and tried to block out the negative thoughts and sad feelings for a bit. I’d also be lying if I said that worked. It didn’t!

As I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I came across this quote from Brene’ Brown, that rang so true and summed up my week perfectly:

undefinedWhen we hit that wall, sometimes courage looks like scaling it or breaking through it. AND, sometimes courage is building a fort against the wall and taking a nap. Hard days are real because this is hard. Stay awkward, kind and brave enough to rest and feel.

Brene’ Brown (@brenebrown)

Isolation has been hard, especially for my two daughters, but for me too. This past week school was offically cancelled for the rest of the year. This news was hard to swallow for my HS senior. We knew it was coming, but having it become official slammed the door on that glitter of hope we’d kept alive. Each day that long, look-fowared to event that was supposed to happen that didn’t passes (Costa Rica trip with Spanish Club, prom, track season and soon to be senior skip day, commencement, and graduation parties) we mourn again. No one died, yet the grief feels unbearable at times.

This past week unbeknownst to me (until an argument about grooming the dog caused my youngest to rat out her sister), my oldest daugther saw a friend when she was out picking up takeout for us. Because of the shelter-at-home order, we are limiting who we see and practicing social distancing. Excited to see her friend, whom she hasn’t seen in weeks, they hugged. In the scheme of life, a two second hug should NOT be a big deal. It’s a normal, every day occurence. It’s what friends do, when they miss each other. However, it became a big deal.

My youngest is a worrier. (Hell, I’m a worrier). So, when she woke up with sore throat Thursday morning, she became convinced she has COVID-19 now. Does she? Probably not. Is it possible? Maybe. Her logic is that because her sister hugged her friend, the virus could have gotten on said friend’s clothes (because she works as an essential worker in a restaraunt), the virus could have jumped to sister’s clothes when they hugged and then jumped on her clothes when she was playing basketball with her sister, then it could have jumped on her hand when she touched her shirt and into her mouth when she accidentally touched her face and boom now she has it.

I’ve read articles about how contagious the virus is and her logic is not that far off, but still unlikely? The oldest who is young and healthy, thinks everyone is over-reacting. Her friend isn’t sick and takes precautions after work. The problem is that her friend could be sick without knowing she is. My boyfriend lives alone and has been working from home as well. He also spends minimal time with his parents (whom I have been missing dearly. I can’t wait to have Q’Doba with them again) as he has medication for his back that he can’t apply without help. We had been spending time together at his house and ours. Our thought was that we have two homes that make up one household. We live 40 minutes away from each other. Were we breaking the rules? My daughter thinks so. I get to hug my friend and she doesn’t. He is family. I see it differently. It is different.

We have decided not to see each other in person for at least two weeks because of the two-second hug. Following my youngest daugher’s logic, the virus could jump on my clothes or have already infected me, and then jump on my boyfriend and on to his parents. His parents and mine are in a higher risk category. So while it is seeminly, dizzying logic, we simply aren’t willing to take that risk no matter how small it may be. My oldest thinks the whole thing is stupid. And, I agree with her, the whole thing is stupid. I hate the situation and I want it all to go away ASAP (hence pulling the covers over my head). My youngest feels bad for being a tattle-tale (you did the right thing sweetie) and keeps asking me if I am mad and why I look sad. I have reassured them both that I am not mad, and yes I am a bit sad, but I am OK.

I remind them and myself that this will pass. This isn’t forever. I chide myself for feeling sorry for myself – what right do I have? My family is healthy, I still have my job and can work from home, I have a home and food. I am grateful and blessed. I force myself out of bed and get ready to face the day.

Seasons

Daffodils

My clock reads 12:58 AM. I’m not asleep. I’ve tried. Believe me. I’ve tried. My bedroom is a cool 67 degrees. It’s dark. It’s quiet minus the rythmic breathing of my dog and the whir of the fan app on my iPhone. I powered down my devices at 10 pm. I read a chapter of my book. My first and last cup of coffee was at 9:35 AM. Yet, I lay there awake, not sleeping. First, I lie on my right side and my arm goes to sleep, but not my body. I flip to my left side and now my hip hurts. I try lying on my back instead. I concentrate on my breathing. In, out, in, out. Come on eyelids, please get heavy. Just…drift off into that peaceful slumber. Count backwards from 100…99…98…97…. My mind wanders through a check list of to do’s for tomorrow. Wait…I’m supposed to be counting backwards from 100. Damn it! I’m still awake.

So….I gave up for now. My clock reads 1:07 AM and now I’m sitting in my living room. The glow of my laptop screen the only light in the room. My fingers tap across the keyboard. A blanket around my shoulders, I decided to write and empty my thoughts and frustrations on to the page. I’ve struggled with insominia off and on througout my life, but these past fews weeks it’s been an unwelcome guest that won’t go home. My sleeping powers have left me. It has been four weeks of quarantine. Four weeks of not going in to the office, not dining in restaraunts, not going to events, not seeing friends and family.

I’m an introvert, but this “alone” time is a bit much even for me – a homebody at heart. As I adjust to this new normal, my mood swings from being anxious to depressed to optimistic and back again. It is scary thinking about this invisible, opportunistic virus that is floating around out there waiting for me to make a mistake (Did I wipe down that door knob? Did I just touch my face? Was I 6ft away from that person in the grocery store?) and infect me. Maybe I have the virus now? When will the symptoms appear? What if someone I love gets the virus? What if they die? What if I die? These are indeed unpresedented times. Are the experts and the media over-blowing this pandemic? Is COVID-19 just another flavor of the seasonal flu? I don’t know 100%, but I trust that our govenor is doing the right thing with the “stay at home” orders and Ohio’s curve is flattening. Would it have flattened without these drastic measures? Some would say there was never a threat to begin with. I am grateful our government has erred on the side of caution.

When the sun is shining through my window in the still of morning, I take comfort in the little things that make me smile. In the dark as I try to fall asleep though, my mind takes a turn toward the unknowns lurking out there. I know this too will pass and this won’t be my life forever. In the meantime, I’m enjoying watching movies in the evenings with my daughters, listening to them laugh as they FaceTime their friends, watching them play basketball with each other in the driveway and taking the dog for a walk. It won’t be long before my oldest (a senior) and my youngest (a seventh grader) will be off to college and then living their lives and having families of their own. It seems only moments ago I was holding them in my arms for the first time. I know it won’t be that long when I look back on the pandemic of 2020 and we’ll remember and tell stories about our “stay at home” time. We’ll remember the courage and empathy of the frontline workers and the way our communities pulled together.

I’m glad that it’s spring here. I can’t imagine how much harder this would be in the middle of winter. I love to wander around my back yard and enjoy the flowers that one of the previous homeowners planted long ago. This is my favorite time of year. First the crocus bloomed, now the daffodils are blossoming and next the tulips will come and the peonies and day lillies. They bring me hope after a long winter that summer and warm weather is on it’s way. They remind me that long after I am gone, the cycle will continue.

And now, my clock reads 1:50 AM. My eyes are a little heavy. Well, not really, but I am going to go back to bed and try once more to sleep. At least it’s Saturday and I can take a nap later! Goodnight all.