I haven’t been writing – I guess it comes and goes. It’s like I have all this inspiration for a few weeks, and then none for months.
But of course I’m writing now because I write when I’m bothered or have to get some thought or another out. And, you guessed it – COVID-19 has my brain working over time.
In December Matt was talking to me about stocking up food – remember my worrier? The same child who in 2014 was losing sleep over Ebola and the local algae bloom that effected our water supply is now a walking, talking encyclopedia of facts on everything from vocabulary to geography to – you guessed it – epidemics and pandemics. Matt called it when it first broke out in China, and now he’s full of ‘I told you so’s’ and masking his worry with spewing the ever developing facts regularly. I’m proud of him. He’s worried but keeping himself informed. We just need to work a little bit on credible sources and he’ll be set. I taught him this coping mechanism when the Ebola situation was going on, I showed him facts vs. fiction and how to obtain information – the more informed you are the less likely you are to panic, and the more likely you will handle a situation correctly and not based on fear and misinformation.
That all being said, we can’t ignore how quickly things are changing and how drastically our life is changing.
Tomorrow marks a week since it was announced all Ohio Schools would be closing. Originally they were ‘extending’ spring break, but now (in less than a week, mind you) it is looking more and more like my boys won’t see the inside of a classroom until late August. We are receiving direction from teachers on how to communicate, packets of work are going to be mailed home, and I’ve been researching home schooling methods for Chase. Matthew already has direction from his teachers as everything is pretty much digital in high school now, but for the 2nd graders that isn’t the case.
I’ve watched news reports about toilet paper shortages and witnessed first hand the bare shelves in grocery stores. I follow news stations updates on what’s closing next – we’re basically down to stores, and things that keep the city operating. I stand on my back deck or lay in bed at night and marvel at the lack of traffic on the usually busy street. I’m hearing reports of water ways clearing and pollution being less visible in cities already effected and shut down. I feel like our own shut down is looming in the not too distant future, but there’s no way of knowing for sure – the changes are happening so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. I see friends posting about wishing loved ones in nursing homes happy birthday through closed windows, and lamenting about cancelled vacations. I took off two days to attend a concert that is now postponed indefinitely, with another one in May that could possibly meet the same fate. On a personal level, I’m looking at home schooling my kids when I never considered that as an option. And my job is still open. I’m also trying to make sure my brother is good, trying to order him things so he doesn’t have to leave his home. . . While I don’t have to handle the burden of juggling all of this alone, it’s still a mind boggling thing to me, absolutely crazy. It’s juggling like I’ve never juggled before.
As always though, I’m looking at the bright side. I’m looking at the Earth healing. I’m looking at parents being the ones to teach their kids, and not relying on someone else. No one knows your child like you do, so who better to teach them? I’m counting my blessings that I still have a job to report to, thus a paycheck to collect – because I know that there are many out there who no longer are working and are wondering how they’re going to make ends meet. And in the event that we are required to close down our city and everyone stay home, I’ll get time with my kids. I’ll get time to relax, or clean, or organize, or do a science project, or garden. . . Those of us who are homebodies aren’t afraid of being made to stay home. We’re looking forward to it.
I’m not panicking, or out buying a crazy amount of food and home supplies. I am not judging those who have, because everyone copes differently. I will say I wish there was a little more thoughtfulness out there though, because we need to be taking care of each other, while still making sure we ourselves are taken care of. It’s a hard line to walk, and I’m not in a place to judge the actions of others. I can only do what I feel to be right and hope others do the same.
I have to commend those who are still making jokes – as crazy of a situation as this is, and as scary as it actually is, making light of a very dire situation helps themselves, and some others. Some may see the jokes as tasteless and crude. I see someone coping the best way they know how and trying to help others to cope, as well. Laughter is the best medicine.
I hear people saying that the government is making too much out of nothing. That the flu has more fatalities, that it’s a conspiracy, trying to place blame, being mad about how inconvenienced they are, so on and so forth. I’m not here to tell them they’re wrong. What I can see is that there are sick people, that there are people dying, and that our government is shutting down our city piece by piece. That there are larger cities already shut down. Regardless of the reason there’s panicked people, there’s sick people, and we’re looking at some really fucked up things in our near future.
As always, I’m asking you to take a minute. Take a minute and count your blessings. Take a minute to view some pros versus cons. Show some compassion for your fellow humans. We don’t know what each individual is dealing with mentally and emotionally. We don’t know what this all means to them on a personal level. All I know for sure is what it means to me. I don’t know how many times a day the lady behind the cash register is having to wash and sanitize her hands, I don’t know what it is to have to call the unemployment hotline because my job closed its doors, I don’t know what it means to have to figure out how to ration food with no income, or what this pandemic is doing to people with anxiety issues. . . I’m pretty goddamn lucky. So maybe it’s easier for me to count my blessings and be kind. But maybe if more of us took a deep breath and did just that, it would make all of this a little easier.