This isn’t how I envisioned my weekend.
My sister was supposed to travel from D.C. to watch my older son perform the lead role in our community theatre’s rendition of Mary Poppins Jr. scheduled for 2 p.m. today. My younger son and I should be on our way to a soccer game right now in a neighboring town. But instead, all is quiet at my house. We decided my sis should remain with her family, and my boys are snoozing peacefully in their beds.
This COVID-19 pandemic is strange, no? It’s upended everyone’s world. From schools and universities closing to worldwide travel stalling to sporting events being canceled and grocery store shelves being cleared out, everything feels odd. I don’t like the word “apocalyptic,” although I’ve heard myself use it several times over the past week. But in a apocalypse, there is a feeling of doom and despair and while the current state of our world doesn’t feel good, I feel hopeful we can figure this out.
Last night we grilled hamburgers with my boyfriend, Matthew, and his kids. We have five children between the two of us. They are all extremely busy, just like many other modern kids and teens. Whether it’s track, soccer, running club, youth activities or theatre, they are accustomed to a packed schedule. Normally, four of the five would be playing soccer games this weekend.
Typically, we could not have gotten to Matthew’s until after theatre practice, and I would have been ushering my boys home early in preparation for a morning game, but since we got there early and could stay late, we were able to relax and take our time. With music playing, the kids rode bikes and played four-square. The adults cooked and talked. Everyone had fun.
My sweet dad joined us for dinner. With his house finally sold, he’s settling into a new phase of life. It was special to have him with us last night. Once it got dark, we all sat around the kitchen table and played Skip-bo. Then our two eleven-year olds put on their own production, a mash-up of Mary Poppins Jr. and Frozen Jr.
As I drove home, I felt content. This entire weekend is much different than what I expected it to be. And I know that’s the case for every person in the world right now. We are having to stop, think, and be careful about everything. The COVID-19 situation has united the globe in a strange way. Despite borders, political strife, wars, cultural differences and economic statuses, we’re all fighting the same battle, perhaps for the first time in history. I’m not sure what it all means, but it certainly connects us as humans.
I’m nervous just like everyone else. I worry about the ultimate economic toll this could take. I have no idea what tomorrow or next week or next month will look like. My pantry and freezer are stocked. My thermometer has new batteries. We’re washing our hands and keeping our distance from people. We’re doing all the things.
Meanwhile, I can’t help but see the positive in this situation. Slowing down and opening up our schedules aren’t bad things. We’re being offered the gift of time to be with those we love and to be intentional with life. Of course, I hope things eventually go back to “normal” and this heightened level of fear subsides. Until then, I plan to seek out the good, because like tulips in the dirt, a little brightness can go a long way.