Have y’all seen that meme about the call for social distancing, and intorverts be like, “I’ve been preparing for this my whole life?”
I am not an introvert by nature (though I do need my down time — as we all do), but I feel like I’ve been preparing for this self-isolation (probably soon to be forced lockdown) by virtue of being a mother working at home for most of the past 12 years.
Being at home for days….weeks….months….years on end with young children (and even older children) is a little bit like a jail sentence. Does that sound hyperbolic? My husband and I have been away all of two times since marrying almost 13 years ago for a grand total of about 50 hours. The first time we went away was for our 5th anniversary. The Hub told me, “You’re acting like someone who has just broken out of jail.”
I don’t know what jail feels like, thankfully. But I do know what long, long, long stretches of isolation, being stuck at home feels like.
So, what have I learned through many years of being at home, working at home, tending to sick children at home, watching others go on vacations and eat at restaurants (we rarely go out, because of my eldest’s food allergies) while I cooked, cleaned, and did laundry at home?
I think I’ve learned this meme that I saw on Facebook this morning. I confess, it made me pat myself on the back, because I do these things, every day, quite instinctively:
While number three is a bit specific as to today’s circumstances, I compare it to learning to “let go” of my expectations for what parenting and my life as an adult would (or “should”) look like.
I encourage you, if all this very hard self-isolation is new to you, to try to practice this list each day. (Of course, don’t turn it into a “should” list that then creates guilt and anxiety.) I do believe it will bring you joy and strength in this storm.
Today, I plan to go bike riding with my girls. I adore bike riding. My late father-in-law gave me his bike, and it’s been hanging upside down from our garage ceiling since last summer. I asked The Hub last night to get it down for me. I took a quick spin around our cul-de-sac and instantly felt transported into my 15-year old self and body. Freedom! I would have loved to have gone on a ride right then and there, but our dog was already on his leash, eager for his walk. While I walked and the girls rollerbladed, we walked and rolled into a Gauguin-style sunset while the girls enjoyed the “weeeeeeee” of rolling down soft hills by the nearby wash and park. The last time I felt such a sense of quiet magic was on a sparkling snow-scaped evening in our old hometown, the glow of Christmas lights on the white yards as I walked our neighbor’s dog. Stillness.
I hope you, too, can find the magic in the stillness that these times bring. Peace.