When it all started, my main thought was wishing it would stop. We spiraled from “there’s a virus in other countries” to “the virus is in our country” to “our country has the worst outbreak of cases.”
Every day, the news piled on stories of more cases, more deaths, more precautions.
My fingers hit the news app button on my phone as soon as my eyes opened for the day. I read stories and blogs and comments. I considered what this new world looked like for so many.
My husband and I sat down with our children and explained that they’re living through history. Their kids and their grandkids will one day read about this in their history books and ask them about it.
We sat at our nightly outdoor patio dinner (our new tradition during quarantine) and talked about people we knew affected by the coronavirus, talked about recent stories in the news about it, talked about how our state and our country was handling the pandemic.
Then suddenly, days into quarantine, days into the uncertainty, days into feeling like maybe our world will never be the same, we realized our error. It was time to quit focusing on what we couldn’t control and focus on what we could.
So we read way less news stories, and quit following every social media post with new suggestions, tips or random bits of information about the virus. We stayed informed and stayed safe, but changed our ways.
We focused on our “best things.”
Instead of rehashing news stories over dinner with our children, we said “what’s your favorite thing about this time?”
Their answers surprised, delighted and shocked.
They miss their friends, so when one of the teenage boys said he loves just being with us, we thought maybe we misheard. But he repeated it again, and we knew he meant it.
Youngest daughter has discovered a love of gardening she didn’t possess before. I’ve gardened since way before the resurgence of “victory gardens.” She never cared. Now, I can’t keep her out of my plants or from giving me suggestions.
We have shared crabs with neighbors. Usually, we would have kept them all and invited over friends and family. But with the “no gatherings” rule, our neighbors got crabs. And we made bonds.
I’ve had friends drop off unexpected gifts on our front door.
“We were thinking about y’all,” they said as a way of explanation. Because when time slows and the world as you know it changes, you think and pray for those you can’t see.
With no extracurricular activities, we now play our own family games in the driveway. Literally – we painted a pickleball court in permanent paint on our driveway, bought the net, the balls and racquets. In the absence of team sports, we created our own team.
And that’s been the best of these worst of times.
Our team is us. It always has been, but we got busy and forgot that the people in our homes are also our best of friends. They’re fun. They make me laugh. They beat me in pickleball. One teenage boy has learned guitar during the past few weeks and plays the two chords he knows while I’m in my garden. Hearing him play is better than any music I’ve ever heard.
I love knowing they’re near. I love knowing these weeks that have turned into months have bonded and not broken us.
When this is all over, may we all remember the best of these worst of times and bring it with us when the world returns to the normal we knew before. Because family dinners on the patio should be frequent. Games of pickleball and guitars being strummed are what I want – not more busy and more of what we had before. Even the worst of these times can still bring out the best in all of us. May this be our story that we write into history books read for generations to come. POV