I’m finally ready to write about the Coronavirus. It’s been on my mind since things got crazy but my mind was too hectic to express my feelings through words. I’ve been going through the necessary motions and to be honest I’ve been mostly scared out of my mind.
My girlfriends and I went to Mardi Gras at the end of February. I needed a break and my cousin had moved to New Orleans, it was the perfect road trip! I had begun to hear rumors about a virus in China that may or may not have been on its way to the United States but I wasn’t super focused on it. I was mostly focused on getting ready for our girls trip. But when I got back and started scrolling through reddit and other sites that I scroll through when I’m awake at night and can’t sleep, I realized that things were way more serious than I’d imagined. So I did what I felt was needed, I began texting my family and closest friends. It was LATE, much later than I usually send out mass text messages but my mental alarm was blaring…
I told everybody to STOCK UP. Go look for masks immediately (they were already sold out) and start buying groceries. It sounded crazy to me so I know it sounded slightly insane to them but they tolerated it and my parents began researching and shopping. I went out the next day and realized that sanitizer was sold out at places I could normally buy it. So another mass text message was created. I also decided to take the boys to the zoo. I know I know… why go to a crowded place AFTER finding out about the virus. Honestly, because in my mind it wasn’t here yet and I knew that we were on borrowed time. I took the boys to the zoo and a birthday party that afternoon. And then horseback riding and hanging out the following weekend. Then came spring break, shortly after the world as we knew it closed.
The boys were already at daycare for spring break when it was decided that school was closed indefinitely. INDEFINITELY sounded insane to a person who lives by planning. So the boys stayed at daycare while my spidey senses tingled and told me that if schools were closed then daycare couldn’t be safe either. My mom called and confirmed my thoughts when she voiced the same concern. I was hesitant to send the boys to my parents house in Austin because my dad has knee problems and lets face it, a 5 and 9 year old can be a bit crazy for long periods of time. But after picking them up from daycare on the first day of school closure and seeing that the daycare had more kids than summer camp usually does it was decided. The next day we headed to Austin loaded up with clothes and the extra supplies I’d purchased for them when I hit the stores before the pandemic hit.
The boys have been in Austin since. My parents are part of the population that fare the virus the worst so heading to Austin every weekend while I am still working (and being exposed) would be potentially bringing the virus with me so it was three weeks later and the longest I’d ever gone without them before I could go visit.
Being without the boys during a pandemic is nothing like sending them for a week over the summer. There is nothing you want to do more than be with your kids when the world is tilting upside down. Praying over them every night brings me a sense of comfort I didn’t have and coming home to social distance in an empty house is more lonely than I ever imagined it could be.
My parents are CHAMPS. The downside of the school closures meant that parents became teachers and my mom stepped into the role like I haven’t seen since grade school. She organized with BJ’s teachers and has been submitting homework, logging into the apps and my dad has been working with B2 who he has given sight words to work on while BJ does his homework. The boys have loved being at Mema’s house. And thankfully there have been no “I’m ready to come home” calls or complaining because I’m not sure I could handle worrying about them being homesick when I could do nothing about it.
I worked with my job to work from home for a week to give my parents a break and bring the boys back home. So at the moment the boys and I are under one roof. I’ve been giving them extra sporadic hugs and reminding them that they do have to go back to Mema’s house. There have been no groans or complaints. I think in their little minds they understand that they’re in a situation that is bigger than all of us. My heart is happy right now. My house is loud for the moment. There are toys everywhere and chip wrappers on the table. I’ve had to yell “go to sleep!” over and over up the stairs the past couple of nights. And it’s brought me a sense of peace.
What I am is grateful… I’m more grateful of what I’ve been given than I’ve ever been and if that’s what comes out of this situation I’m content with that. I’m grateful for parents who love their grandchildren so much that they’d spend an unknown amount of time keeping them and loving on them in my stead, not everyone has that. I’m grateful for my home that covers us and we don’t have to worry about landlords and eviction, so many people are concerned about that right now. I’m grateful for my career. I was upset that it was decided that I needed to come into the office to work instead of working from home where I could keep my boys with me. But there are 22 million people out of work right now, and I’m blessed and grateful to have a job to go to. I’m grateful for my family’s health. I’m so grateful.
I’m still scared. We don’t know how long we’ll be wearing masks and gloves to go inside grocery stores. We don’t know how long we’ll be social distancing and this virus will be running wild to wreck havoc on respiratory systems. There are young and old dying every day. And through it all we are blessed. More blessed than I ever deserve to be.
And that’s where we are. Living separately, stealing weekends here and there to see each other and praying things change enough for us to be in the same house without fearing for their safety (and mine) at daycare.
This is April 2020. This is nothing we could have ever imagined. But here we are.