47 days. So far, it’s been 47 days. Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm says we’re in the 2nd inning. Let that sink in for a moment.
Maybe he’s right. Let’s see: we’re physically safe. You could argue we bunted and made it to first base, maybe even stole second.
But I’d rather not be playing baseball. I’d much rather be sitting in the park on a sunny afternoon drinking a beer, eating a dog, and cheering on our favorite team. Wouldn’t we all?
But oooooh no. We’re playing ball. And if it had to guess, we just arrived at the top of the 2nd. I hear the famous words of Tom Hank’s character Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own,
“There’s no crying in baseball.”
I want to cry but the tears aren’t flowing.
The monotony of it all. Oh, the monotony! Every day like the rest. I get up, clean up, grab some caffeine, and within 20 minutes tops I sit in that home office chair and pound away at the computer just like the day before. The days are a blur.
Lent? It came, it went. Easter arrived. I hardly knew it. I know some people really embrace Lent. They slow down, get reflective and spiritual. I’m not that person. I slowed down in other ways, to be sure. But this year? I missed the rituals and opportunity to commune with other people on the Lenten journey. Deep down, it became clear that it is something I actually crave. I’m embarrassed it took a pandemic for me to realize it.
School is “back in session”, online. You would hardly know it either. My kids check their assignments on Monday and complete most of what is required for the week in just a few hours. Granted we have a bit more visibility to what the younger one is required to do but it doesn’t feel like much of a work load. No way are they getting the same level of instruction as they would in a physical classroom, however in no way am I blaming the teachers or the school administration. Parents are a child’s greatest teacher, so it is my job to fill in whatever gap I believe is missing.
The teachers and administration have to develop and issue the assignments fairly. Nevertheless, I’m sure there are kids on an individualized education plan (IEP) who aren’t getting the support they need. I feel bad for those students and their parents, but this chaos was thrust on everyone. We can only hope that the education and guidance we give our kids in other ways makes up for what they may be missing out on these few months. I know it doesn’t but it helps to show some grace toward parents and kids who are struggling now.
A few days ago Ohio officially announced that children will not return to physical classrooms for the remainder of this academic year. We had a hunch that would be true the first day of social distancing, 47+ days ago when the governor broke the news about the shut-downs. The school news still hit like a gut punch when it became real. While my heart breaks for seniors who may miss the rituals of their final year of public schooling, what really got to me was the realization that the monotony of the last few weeks will remain virtually unchanged until August, quite possibly. The only difference is the weather will be slightly warmer.
I’m not kidding. Chances are excellent I’ll continue to work from home because I can do my job just fine from here. My percussion teacher husband can continue his lessons online. We will have to come up with some seriously creative ideas for the kids to keep them occupied this summer. It’s daunting to think about. My fear is boredom and plenty of food to eat without self-discipline and constant supervision can make for a dangerous combination.
I feel for my friends, family, and coworkers with little ones, trying to navigate work under these circumstances. I know how exhausted I was when things were normal and I left them for 9-10 hours a day. Being with them 24×7 every day, trying to parent them while working? I hope we all lean toward grace for people in that situation.
I’ve tried socializing online. Held a variety of “happy hour” sessions with friends, family, coworkers, using whatever tools are at our disposal: Facetime, Messenger, Zoom, Teams. People as far away as England and Moscow, Florida, Cincinnati, Lexington, Raleigh, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh. I really do need to chat with my friend in Japan next. I am pretty glad this way of connecting exists even if it means sitting for a spell yet some more while we chat.
Although I am definitely not bored, I am helping co-produce a recurring Zoom webcast for a doctor friend who is sponsoring women’s health conversations. It’s been fun to put my webcast producer and interviewer hat back on.
I’m grateful for guided meditation, books, walks outside, my sweet little doggie, take-out, video-conferencing, social media, Amazon Music, and Netflix guiding me through this time, and for all the curiosity and twists of fate that led me to experience a pandemic with these stress outlets at my fingertips. I may or may not have become an Outlander fanatic over the last two weeks or so.
I remember when this whole thing started, I challenged people to do something meaningful with the time. Now I realize how ridiculous that was. Not one soul needs pressure, to feel bad about what they are or are not doing. Everyone has their own circumstances with an inherent set of challenges built in. We do what we can do, nothing more. No guilt, just grace.
The only goal? Survive. Just make it through to the other side of this, however long it takes.