Pandemic Life: What the Actual What!?

I keep seeing memes and posts that I think are meant to be inspiring. About how this is such a great time to do all the things you thought you never had time to do—clean closets, write that book, paint the basement. While I think it’s critically important that we keep focused on hope at this time, I just want to scream from the rooftops (at least six feet away from other houses, of course):

You guys! This is really freakin’ hard.

It’s really freakin’ hard for me—a working parent suddenly face-to-face with the time spent away from my children. Listening to them downstairs or outside with a sitter while I plug away on my little screen. Or, some days, trying to satisfy their nutritional, entertainment and educational demands and the demands of my job all at the same time.

It’s really hard for stay at home moms whose schedules may not feel all that different, but are suddenly void of that sanity-saving hour at the gym or meandering trip to Target.

It’s really, maybe especially, hard for grandparents missing their grandchildren and families.

Teachers have been suddenly ripped away from their babies, their purpose and all the end-of-school-year excitement.

High school seniors are missing out on the celebratory culmination of their hard work.

Little ones are having birthday parties at home, without blowing out candles or sleeping over with friends.

This is really hard for the elderly in long-term care facilities who live for that weekly visit from their families and may or may not understand why they’re not coming.

It’s hard for people who have had to cancel long-planned vacations, or worse—postpone weddings and funerals. Can you even imagine?

It’s hard for restaurant owners, staff and other hourly workers, suddenly facing dwindling checking accounts and uncertain weeks ahead.

It’s really, really freakin’ hard for healthcare workers, bravely walking straight toward the problem each and every day, stripping down in their garages before re-entering their homes each morning/night.

It’s hard for the daycare workers, courageously keeping our healthcare and other essential workers’ lives afloat during these uncertain times.

I’m sure I’ve missed many of you. But the point is—these are uncertain and challenging times for ALL of us. We have that in common, no doubt. Some people are struggling with boredom, isolation and loneliness. Others are struggling with overwhelming additional physical and mental loads. Others have been asked to serve as usual while the rest of the world gets to hunker down.

I’ve been inspired seeing neighbors and businesses taking action. They’re providing food for children and the elderly. They’re offering educational content for free online. They’re hanging shamrocks in their windows for families to count on outdoor walks. They’re offering delivery, and people are ordering. Keep taking care of each other, friends.

I don’t think this is the time when magic will happen in your heart, your mind or with your hands. I don’t think it’s time to get all the things done. I think it’s the time to do the next right thing, one day at a time until we find the light at the end of what feels to be a long, dark tunnel.

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