My approach to the COVID-19 situation has shifted dramatically since we embarked on this journey back in March. I started out uninformed and lackadaisical. But with each news report, governor’s press conference, and scientific article explaining what we’re facing, I’ve become more vigilant.
Here’s my evolution over a three-week period of time….
March 12 – We were leaving my 5th-grade son’s parent-teacher conference tonight, excited for spring break to kick off the next day, when a fellow teacher said she’d heard schools might close through March 29.
Me: Another week of spring break? Sweet!
March 13 – It’s the first day of spring break and I took my daughter to get her driver’s permit. The place was jam-packed. It figures. It was both a Friday and the first day of spring break. And while the employees took precautions to wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes, I didn’t think much about our own personal protective measures.
Me: No March Madness? More like March Sadness. What will we watch on tv now that the NCAA tourney is canceled?
March 14 – Our church closed its doors for worship for the first time in 25 years. We made brunch and watched the service online.
Me: I’m so thankful to have an online worship option….and the freedom to do so wearing sweats with no makeup.
March 15 – I go to the gym and teach a fitness class and then swing by the grocery store for a few things. No cleaning products, hand sanitizer, or toilet paper available, as well as some food items. The governor announces that schools will be closed through April 12.
Me: I wonder if we should cancel our spring break trip to a waterpark in two days? That would be a bummer. Also, maybe I should wash my hair one of these days?
March 16 – The gyms are now closed so I discover the world of online fitness classes. Good thing since I’ve also been snacking a lot more. Also, our local library announces it will be closing and I go into a full-blown panic reserving books for a special curbside pick-up time.
Me: Apparently, I just found my limit! I can live in a dirty house with limited food and toilet paper, but don’t take away my books!
March 17 – My 67 year-old dad puts himself in a doctor-recommended quarantine. We cancel our spring break trip to the waterpark. The waterpark is still open for business (although it closed the next day) and we all feel fine, but it felt like the socially responsible thing to do.
Me: Okay, what other fun things can we do around the house? Maybe the kids could have friends over as long as we keep it to under 10 people?
March 18 – The governor encourages restaurants and business to shut down dine-in service.
Me: What local business can we support with our carry-out order tonight?
March 19 – Went grocery shopping and was amazed at how bare the shelves were. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, but no bread, meat, eggs, canned goods, and other “staples” like cereal and frozen pizzas. I took my 14-year-old daughter who wanted to get out of the house with me.
Me: It’s probably fine. I’ll encourage her to keep her hands to herself and wash them well when we get home.
March 20 – The official week of spring break is wrapping up, but we have three more to go until school resumes. Friends around me are discussing homeschooling options for my kids.
Me: What?!? There’s no way I can possibly homeschool my two teenagers and there’s a reason the show, “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” was so funny. I’m sure we’ll quickly discover – I’m not!
March 21 – Went for a walk with two girlfriends at the local sports complex. I’d never heard of social distancing until this week, but we tried to maintain an approximate distance of six feet between us. However, I wouldn’t let my son join his friends playing basketball at the same complex.
Me: My teenager and his friends can’t remember to change their socks. Do I really think they can remember to stay six feet away? No. But I still feel like the mean mom.
March 22 – It’s my husband’s birthday. I typically go all-out for birthdays and so I’m feeling limited and crabby about it. I organized a group FaceTime call with family and friends to celebrate.
Me: I’m so grateful for technology and our friends and family who took time out of their day to participate.
Also me: For the love of God and the sanctity of the group conference call, everyone mute your dang microphone!
March 23 – Everyone around me is starting homeschooling efforts. My middle child welcomes the structure and opportunity to learn. My oldest and youngest are protesting.
Me: I’m with the oldest and youngest. I even had a dream where I was in an AP Calc class and I couldn’t understand a word the teacher was saying, yet I was supposed to teach this same lesson to my teenager. I’m not sleeping well these days.
March 24 – We launched Corona Academy today! I give it a 6 out of 10. Definitely some stumbles along the way. We don’t start until 10:30 a.m. and we wrap by 2:30 p.m. with a 1.5 hour break in the middle. But, it’s giving our days some structure and encouraging the kids to use their brains.
Me: Teachers are heroes and should be paid all the money in the world.
March 25 – We started watching Survivor as a family and the irony is not lost on me. Working from home, parenting, and teaching has everyone stretched thin and doing their best to Outwit, Outlast, and Outplay. My husband suggested we treat this like a sabbatical.
Me: I like the idea in concept, but right now I’m tired and doing everything to keep my head above water. My inner extrovert is showing. And I’m sick of continually wiping down every surface with disinfectant wipes.
March 26 – Working on providing virtual gatherings for high school students and women from church. Experimenting with Instagram Live and YouTube live streaming. It’s so important for these groups to connect and grow during this time of isolation.
Me: It’s important for me, too.
March 27 – Did my hair and make up for the first time in two weeks. Didn’t take it too far, though. I stuck with leggings, but upped them to my “good” leggings instead of my workout leggings. Felt great to do something normal.
Me: Removing my makeup at the end of the day and the getting-ready-for-bed routine is still the worst. That hasn’t changed. Corona Virus bonus: since I never wear makeup these days, I get to skip that whole enchilada!
March 28 – Did a virtual happy hour with friends after a long week. We needed to congratulate each other on a job well done. And give each other permission to fail and get it wrong.
Me: None of us have ever done this before. Why do we expect we’re going to get it perfect the first time out of the gate?
March 29 – Made a little “social distancing” visit to my parents today. Stayed outside and kept six feet or more away. It was good to see them.
Me: I was nervous most of the time we were there. And then read an article when we got home that the six-foot rule is only for when you absolutely must interact with others (i.e. grocery store, public spaces on a walk, etc.). Gathering in groups, even at six feet apart, is most likely continuing the spread. Aw, crap.
March 30 – Today I’m mad. I’m mad at every family I see in the grocery store together and every group of teenagers playing in the sports complexes. We are not taking the measures we need to take to stop the spread of this virus. I wish the governor would issue a “shelter in place” order forcing everyone to stay home. I’m sick and tired of being at home and I don’t see an end in sight. Starting to realize this is a marathon, not a sprint. Oh, and my kids and my husband are on my every last nerve. My husband and I are in what I affectionately call a “quarreltine.”
Me: If I’m feeling this way as an adult, how are my kids doing?
March 31 – The number of cases continues to rise. My attitude continues to drop. I’m forcing myself to look for the good in this. I’m trying to focus on those who are making safe choices and bringing encouragement to others along the way.
Me: I roll my eyes at how naïve I was at the beginning of this situation. I can’t believe I entertained going on our spring break trip or letting the kids have friends over. I can’t believe I took my daughter to the store with me. I didn’t know. I simply didn’t know.
April 1 – It’s April Fool’s Day. It’s usually one of my favorite days because I love playing pranks. But no one seems in the mood today – to prank or be pranked.
Me: I wish this whole COVID-19 was one big April Fool’s Day prank.
The COVID-19 pandemic changes hourly. We are truly living day-to-day, moment-by-moment. It’s hard to even predict what will happen in the coming weeks and months. Will they discover a vaccine? Will the governor issue a shelter in place order? Will the schools close for the year? Will businesses survive? Will life ever return to normal? We can’t know for certain, but if we’re willing to embrace the circumstances facing us, we can evolve with the changes and find ourselves flourishing despite them.