Our 2020 COVID-19 Experience
I've repeatedly put off recording my thoughts during this COVID-19 pandemic. Mostly because the days are running together and it's all been... surreal. Even though we've gotten used to everything by now, it's still difficult to adequately reflect on what's happening when real life just feels so... I don't know, dreamlike?!
But it's a historic time. A strange one. But one we'll probably look back on and say, "Remember COVID? Remember when we were all quarantined for two months?! Yeah.. that was crazy."
Since we're starting the process towards a new "normal" as stores and businesses start to open back up (here in Utah anyway), I figured it's time to record my version of all this while it's fresh. Plus any period of significant growth (which I've personally been experiencing) is worth writing down in my family history book.
What's been the most baffling to me is that it's affecting every single person in the world in one way or another. We have family/friends in Panama, New Mexico, California, Georgia, Japan, Colorado. And it's been really interesting to see the impact it's made all over the country and the world.
For us, well, we've been lucky! My husband's company hasn't taken a huge hit and has done well with everyone working remotely. We are all healthy and together. We don't have any loved ones that are sick. We've been so grateful--especially knowing so many others aren't so lucky..
That's probably been the biggest takeaway! Being reminded again and again that we are soooo blessed.
But we've had our own bumps. Cam working from home took some getting used to. Whenever he had random days working from home in the past, I wasn't a fan. It was as if he was there with us, but couldn't help with the kids or the house. And that would bug me. Haha. But as time has gone on, I've really grown to love it. Like, I secretly wish it could be permanent!
He made a little work ̶c̶a̶v̶e̶ space down in the basement guest bedroom so that he can work in peace, but we probably bug him more than he prefers. Sorry babe!
But I just love that I get to see him randomly throughout the day. I love that he gets to eat lunch with us. I love that he doesn't have to drive to and from work. I love that the girls can show him their coloring pages and hairdos and random little tricks during the day. I've been treasuring it and it'll be a sad day when he goes back to the office again.
The girls and I are home the majority of the time on the regular, so things haven't been drastically different for us.
R had to stop preschool, dance, and Let's Play Music classes, so that's been a change for her. But not a huge one. These classes are short--only a couple hours long at max (1-2 times a week). She's also a homebody and seems to enjoy the zoom calls and online videos more than actually leaving the house haha.
The past couple of weeks, however, I've noticed her struggling more. I think it's because she hasn't seen her close friends in so long. The other day she spent the morning drawing pictures for them. And when we went to deliver one of the drawings and her friend didn't answer the door, she broke down in their front yard!
Come to find out she really wanted to hand deliver it to her friend in person. Isn't that the saddest/sweetest thing? That's when it really hit me that it's affecting her way more than I realize! Humans just aren't meant to be so isolated. :(
Little M has been about the same. Still twirling in princess dresses. Changing her outfit every hour. She's always been my more independent one (middle child), so I've been just savoring all the little games she plays with her toys or twigs or whatever she can find. She's the freaking cutest three-year-old.
If the girls ask if we can go somewhere like the park or museum, Little M always chimes in, "Because of the virus. Right, Mommy?" They all know it's my answer for everything these days.
And baby C, she's still our happy, chunky girl. I smoosh her face 24/7. I can hardly contain my cute aggression around her. She's pretty easy going and "jubilant" as her daddy recently described her, though we have seen some feistiness come out recently--it's primarily directed toward her big sisters when she's had enough. Also, without all the usual interruptions, we're actually getting into a more consistent nap schedule. So that's a win for everyone!
Though times are awkward, I've really tried to keep things as normal and as fun as possible for my girls. We've kept busy playing, crafting, gaming, picnicking, and baking. It's been very messy and dreadfully imperfect. Lots of my ideas have failed or haven't kept their attention for very long (they're all so little still), but overall this slower pace has truly been a gift for us!
I've loved waking up and not really having a schedule. There's just zero pressure to be anywhere! And I've really loved not having to haul all the littles to activities. Someday I hope to figure it out, but we really struggle making it on time to a n y t h i n g! But with our calendars free, it's taken a huge load off--and consequently, I'm much more pleasant to be around. ;D
My biggest challenge has been the anxiety. I've had many moments of concern for our country and for those bearing the brunt of this pandemic. I've also felt troubled thinking about my babies' future.
My worries involve not doing enough to prepare my little family for what's to come. And I was especially panicky after the earthquake we had here in Utah soon after they announced the lockdown! Thankfully, I have some good resources and people to help me with this! So I've been working through the fear and making a conscious effort to care for and go easy on myself. I've felt way better this past week!
I also keep getting this overwhelming sense of comfort and love. I've felt God surround me with the most precious tender mercies. I have been peacefully uplifted through the scriptures, the comforting voice of the Holy Ghost, and the constant guidance from our living Prophet, Russell M. Nelson.
I have even felt a deepened bond with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel like each passing day has brought me quietly closer to Him. My testimony of His Atonement and what it means for each of us personally has strengthened. As I continue to build that faith in Him, I'm able to trust Him with my inmost fears and struggles.
It's funny because I've always felt the happiest when we're all together in our home, but honestly, whenever I've heard the prophet or apostles say that our homes need to be next to the temple in holiness, my heart would sink a little.. Though I know our home has the spirit and it is a sacred sanctuary for us, I feel like there is still much room for refinement.
But without all the commotion of the outside world and the added alone time we've been granted, I can see that refinement taking place. Particularly on Sabbath days. Our Sundays have become my most favorite part of the week. Being able to worship together and cater to the specific and individual needs of our young children has just been so sooo special. There is undoubtedly profound reasons behind this extra time with our loved ones. I love our ward, but truthfully... I know I'll miss our home church days.
I can sense this transformation happening on all the other days of the week, too. Since everything has come to a screeching, unexpected halt, we are able to make every day a "temple day". Where all other obligations are put on hold and distractions are left at the door.
We are by no means perfect. Not even close! There are definitely still a billion things diverting us from what's most important. But to be able to feel that same, solemn peace (unattained by the world) in our own house is amazing.
It really is.. because even when it looks like chaos around me *cue small humans frolicking and making animal noises* I feel a sweet assurance. An assurance that God's in control and everything's going to be okay!
I'm choosing to believe that. Despite all the circumstances I can't make sense of right now, I'm looking on the bright side. And there's so much goodness and hope that I might not have been able to recognize otherwise! Overall, I'm just grateful for the perspectives and growth I've gained through this crazy quarantine!
I know everyone has a story and it isn't easy, but I truly hope you've been able to get something positive out of all this too! And I pray we can each move on to a new normal--with all our learned lessons in tow--very soon!