As a parent in isolation, I am struggling with homeschooling and working simultaneously. My grey hairs are multiplying (with no hope of dyeing over them anytime soon) and though my ‘struggles’ are not really problems, like many, I’m feeling overwhelmed and worried. Still, during this most odd and stressful time, I can’t help but also notice glimmers of joy. There are beautiful moments of good blooming out of an otherwise grim time in our history.
The community has rallied
It has been wonderful to see neighbours support one another, masses cheer for our healthcare workers and businesses pivot to help in a crisis. I love going for my walks to be encouraged by sidewalk chalk art and kind words written in the windows. The outpouring of free online resources, like yoga classes, audio books and learning activities are ample and generous. People are sewing masks, making cheery porch drops, fiercely supporting small businesses and organizing “birthday parades” to help loved ones celebrate. It’s amazing how much we have connected with one another through this shared experience of isolation.
My calendar is clear
Rushing from work, to after-school pick-up, to swimming lessons – and cramming in dinner on the go – can be a racket. Travelling for business leaves me with a big to-do list at home. Come mid-March, I deleted every single thing from my personal calendar for a of couple months, and it felt kind of nice.
This new normal has overwhelmed me in fresh ways, but I have also found myself just enjoying our backyard that we’ve worked so hard on, baking things I’d never otherwise have time for and catching up on Netflix shows with my husband. If the laundry doesn’t get done, it doesn’t really matter because I have lots of PJ pants. If there’s toothpaste in my sink, who cares…no one is stopping by. This chance to slow the pace, without any FOMO, is kind of nice, and it will probably never happen again.
The Earth will thank us
Remember when we didn’t think we could possibly cut down on vehicle and flight emissions? I think it’s safe to say we’re doing it. I wish it wasn’t at a significant and devastating cost to our economy and people’s livelihood. But if we have to do it anyway, I think it will be interesting to evaluate the dent we’ve made in our fight against Climate Change and how we can sustain some of these measures as we realize we can live differently.
We’re making memories
How often do we implore time to slow down, or wish we could go back and enjoy a younger version of our child. I am spending 24/7 with my son (and that is challenging!), but I am in awe of his resilience, curiosity, and his gosh darn adorableness. It turns out, when I’m not yelling at him to get his shoes and get out the door, I’ve enjoyed laughing with him. We have laid on the grass and watched the clouds. Together we have inspected a blooming flower. I think I will look back on this time together full of simple pleasures and recognize how special it actually was.
It is not lost on me that many of us are experiencing extreme financial hardship, devastating health issues and debilitating mental health challenges, all triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our frontline workers are facing the most stressful times of their life. Those of us that are safe and healthy in isolation are still experiencing fear, grief and anxiety. All of our feelings are valid, and these joyful moments regrettably do not extend to us all.
I’m not going to say, “let’s focus on the positives!” when so many are experiencing trauma and the most difficult circumstances of their lives. I am, however, curious to see how this moment in history changes the fabric of how we live and interact with one another.