I was asked by Real Simple magazine to outline my Silver Linings of Quarantine. My first thoughts were 1. Friday night pizza night, 2. wine and 3. The moms of Tik Tok, but I didn’t think that would fly, so I sat down and gave it some serious thought and I wanted to share my silver linings and ask, what were your silver linings?
The Opportunity of a Lifetime
There are pretty much zero circumstances where having a parent living with me would be a good thing. At our age it would be because one of us is ill, or can no longer care for ourselves. But my dad was in a densely infected area, and we live about 12 hours away in a rural community that had not yet been touched by COVID. We made a quick decision, before the SIP orders were given, to have him come stay with us. We suggested he come stay because we were concerned he might be lonely and isolated after his divorce and with the loss of his dog. But the gift has been all ours. Instead of quick two-day visits around busy holidays we get to have dinner, share our days, share stories, laugh and really enjoy each other. I have always loved and respected my Dad, and I am so grateful for the connection and memories that this unique period of time has given us.
No travel baseball in April? Really? Aw shucks
Two of our three boys play travel baseball, if you aren’t familiar with travel sports it’s a “thing”. Your child “makes” a team and that team is pretty much the only people you see on weekends through spring and most of the summer. You all wear the same colors, drive hours, sit in the cold rain, snow and blaring sun. Your heart aches about lost games and missed opportunities. You cross your fingers every time a ball comes near your child, silent prayers that they will be happy with the outcome. It is grueling and it takes over your life. There’s a lot to love (I didn’t list those parts) and a lot not to love. So, when we couldn’t play in the snow or cold rain of this April, I was not heart broken. When we were cozy at home, frying bacon, watching movies, playing outside, taking the dog for walks, I was not sad. Instead I was grateful that life slowed down, that we had time together at home on the weekends, that we weren’t up at 6am leaving for the ball park. A delay of game and some bacon worked out just fine.
Just the two of us
My husband and I were very caught up in an active social life, plans with families and couples, concerts, sporting events, dinner parties, anything, everything, all the time. I was the ring-leader, I love to bring people together, and my husband has never said no to a good time. Social distancing brought that (huge) part of our lives to a screeching halt. I was so anxious about what we would we talk about just the two of us? What are we going to do? We started working out together, going for walks together, talking to each other, having our own happy hours, watching movies, laughing and just enjoying each other, our home, our kids and a much slower pace of life. Turns out that two is a great number ; )
I share custody of one of my children (the one I made) with his father half way across the country. The one I made is with the two I share with my husband and I in Indiana for the school year and then at his father’s in Los Angeles for the summer. I am grateful to have him during the school year, and it hurts my heart a bit to never have him on a school break, or for the summer. When school announced extended e-learning Mikey’s LA spring break turned into an LA spring. That means he will come here for a month in the summer, time I have not had with him in over 5 years. I am so excited to spend warm days playing and watching his freckles come out on his nose. Share summertime fun and create memories. E-learning isn’t easy, but I love the flexibility and the summer pay-off.
A gift that has kept on giving
I have a group of 8 girlfriends from high school. Some of us have done a better job of staying in touch than others. For the past 20 years we have all been on a group thread of some sort that was reserved for weddings, birthdays and the occasional funeral announcement. I didn’t check it often. About 6 weeks ago we did our first Zoom all together, the belly laughs were soul filling. We have done one every week since and it has brought us all back together. These once girls, now women live in different places, and live very different lives, but we are tied by a bond that won’t be broken and that has been reinforced by the current times. They are the best gift and absolutely most wonderful silver lining. It’s one thing to love a friend in the past, but to re-meet them and love them all over again is a gift. We have listened as each other have struggled, we have made each other laugh and we have air-hugged and high fived. The group text is now for recipes, memes, funny thoughts and pictures, and the friendships aren’t just a memory anymore.