The frozen icy mix hits my face as I walk across the parking lot/hall of shame to my local TJ’s in my leopard print pj’s to see if they have any almond butter. I need it for my granola that I’m halfway through making at home The tiny ice crystals bite extra hard against my cheeks this morning, because we should have been having Spring, we should have been in Mexico today.
But instead, we’re having Winter, the whole world is having Winter and we’re stuck behind our sterilized walls and frozen window panes and wondering how we got here.
How DID we get here??? When the first shutdowns started happening, I thought it was silly and my gut reaction was to resist, this was afterall, just another way for ‘them’ whoever THEY are, to control us and I wasn’t GOING DOWN, no matter what they said. I was going to keep living my life, regardless of their stupidity or scare tactics.
But then I started hearing the stories. Of people stuck in other countries, of stores and businesses shutting down, of jobs and events and paychecks getting canceled. And I started paying attention.
We asked around, we got on travel forums and my husband and I decided that it was not a good idea to fly to another country right now, the risk of getting stuck there for weeks or even months was WAY too high, so we canceled our flights. Of course, we had also bought tickets for his parents to come and babysit our three kids while we were gone and so we canceled theirs too. My kids’s ‘favorite’ uncle was going to come and surprise them and they were going to have. so. much. fun. while their dad and I were going to be sitting on a sunny beach in Mexico, sipping tequila out of fancy straws and gloating about the fact that we were there and NOT in cold and snowy Colorado.
So here we are in cold and snowy Colorado and this is my third full day of waking up mad about it. This is my third full day of explaining why my kids won’t be seeing their grandparents and why they can’t have their favorite blueberry bagels for breakfast (because they’re sold out!) And it’s the third FULL day of me cussing ar the TV and the CDC and thinking that this is all so stupid, everything is stupid.
But then somewhere in the deepest darkest corners of my mind, I had a rthought.
I thought of my elderly neighbor who just lost his wife a year and a half ago. and I thought of how scared he might be. So I stopped by his house to see if I could bring him something from the store, or if he needed anything from the pharmacy.
I thought of my child’s horse trainer and how she must feel, being in her final weeks of pregnancy and how all these ‘unknowns’ could be playing on her mind. She told me how she had gone to the grocery store the day before to get milk, and how she couldn’t find any, she seemed out of breath just telling me about it and so I offered to pick some up for her, since i was going to the store anyway.
Now, listen. I don’t EVER buy milk. For my Mom, my kids, ANYONE. I personally think it is vile and I won’t touch the stuff. But this girl needed her milk and who was I to not at least try to get her what her pregnant little heart desired. So I went to three different stores to find a gallon of 2% for the PREGGO and in the meantime I thought of all the other things she might need, so I grabbed some plastic ware and whatever produce they had left, stuck it in the store’s ugly tan plastic bags and delivered it to her, along with the only 2 PINTS of milk I could find. She was so thrilled, she got tears in her eyes and thanked me profusely.
I thought of another friend who was worried about going into labor early and not being able to bring her doula or perhaps even her husband and kids with her to the hospital. How scared she must have been! She ended up having the baby at 35 weeks and now is stuck in ICU, quarantined from her own kids and any potential visitors for God knows how long.
And yet, here I am. Bitching about the fact that I had already gotten my hair and my nails and my WHOLE BODY done for this trip.
Kind of puts things into perspective when I think about people, like my friends in Nashville whose homes and communities were already on the mend from recent tornado damage and now most of them are suddenly out of jobs, too.
Truth is, it doesn’t really matter how we got here or who’s to blame at this point. Fact is, WE’RE HERE. The world is in distress and what are we, the people of God, the light workers going to do about it?
Somewhere in all of my anger I had a thought and that thought was this.
What if I took all of that energy I had spent on being angry about things I CAN’T change and focused it instead on things I CAN change? Like, making sure my neighbor knows we’re here for him and that my pregnant friend has something to cry happy tears about??
So I did a thing and wrote a letter, an actual handwritten letter and I called a friend just to see how she’s doing. Within the last 22 hrs, I checked on neighbors, got extra groceries for friends and started a group on FB for the needs in our community.
Thing is, t still don’t know how we got here. I’m still p.o’d about all of it and I’m still about 99% sure that some TV character is going to jump out of the bushes and tell us we’ve all been PUNKED!
But it doesn’t matter at this point.
It doesnt matter how I feel or if this thing is real or not, there are real people with real needs around me that I can help. There are real people with real fears that my words could comfort or a simple act of kindness could dispel. There are real people losing real jobs while I am staring out the window with my fake eyelashes and my fake tan, ready for my ‘fake’ trip to Mexico and yet I can’t even pull my head out of my navel long enough to see what’s actually happening in the world around me.
And maybe that’s why we’re here. Maybe that’s why God has allowed this unprecedented event, so we can all show unprecedented love and concern for our fellow humans. So that, maybe in the midst of all our anger and chaos, we can gaze once again upon the beauty and strength of the human spirit and the power of love that can flow from mankind to each other in times of adversity
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom and this is just another lonely day at home for you or you find yourself nursing a child’s fever OR you are currently mopping up your son’s spilled juice with your (totally unnecessary) hair extensions, I want you to know that I see you and I am here for you.
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.