Normal is an interesting concept. For most families like mine, normal is setting an alarm so that one by one we can all get up and get ready to rush out the door for school and work. We rush through our day from one meeting or class to another and at the end of the day we file back into our house, hungry and tired. “What’s for dinner?” and “What do we have to do today?” are the two most popular questions. Cory and I live out of our outlook calendars so we have likely already discussed over text during breaks in our work day who is going to take who where this evening, and what we will be buying or warming up for dinner. By 8:00 we are getting Eliot to bed and spending what energy we may have left to pick up from the day and get ready for the next round. Normal is comfortable if not chaotic.
The last month has not been normal. It’s strange how when a crisis is approaching, it is first seems like a nebulous thing that we may not need to even think about. We all have our own threshold for disruption. Some people are quick to jump out of routine and follow the directions of authority. Others will stand on the front porch watching the tornado until it rips the neighbor’s roof off or ignore the rising flood water until they are floating in it. We are finding out that a lot of our leaders in the US are ignore-rs and deniers. But now as we sit with the neighbor’s roof on our lawn, things in the US are far from normal.
As with every instance of uncertainty and adversity, there are many lessons to be learned. On a world level – that we are all connected. On a national level – that food service, grocery staff, and healthcare workers are essential and that without healthcare for everyone, we all stand the chance of suffering. On a local level – our teachers have a difficult job, one that we can’t do in addition to our other full time job. In my home – that forced togetherness can result in some beautiful side effects. Our puppy gets to spend every day snuggling with the people that love her. Cory and I working from home, though frustrating when we each have responsibilities to our employers and 3 kids and a dog also wanting our time, has allowed us to wake up more leisurely since no one has to get office ready and drive to work. Our evenings are all free, aside from the occasional zoom call. There is no rushing.
I am curious about what normal will look like whenever the threat of this virus subsides. Will we all go back to the same rat race? Probably. I am trying to soak in the good parts of this forced reprieve from normal while doing what I can to support those that are hurting, both in their health and their financial well being. I am grateful that so far, my family is healthy and our jobs are secure. This is likely a point in history that will be forever remembered and as much as I tell my kids to pay attention, some day your grandkids are going to ask you about the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, they brush me off and watch their Tik Tok feed. Perspective isn’t often something that we have when the world is happening. I am trying my best to not overlook anything. I am telling myself I am going to leave quarantine with a healthier body and attitude, but I am also baking cookies on the regular, so….