on Life, Love and What's Happening Now
Mine the Gifts of Covid—or Don’t. However You’re Coping Is Just Fine.
Suddenly, we all have more than we ever imagined.
There’s no need to rehash what’s happening in the world right now. It’s all around us. It’s on our television screens and newsfeeds, in the unsure faces of our family and friends—most whom we see now only when it's your turn on the computer.
Have you noticed how obsessed everyone’s become with numbers since COVID started? We can’t seem to get enough—the number of cases, the number of days, the number of deaths. How long will it last? How much will it cost? All day long, they stream on the side of our televisions, a ticker tape of doom.
In those first days, I felt gutted. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t write. When the breakneck pace of my family’s routine came to a screeching halt, I—like most of us—was rudderless. Every day, my emotions pivoted between anger, fear and guilt. Moms are supposed to be a tower of strength. My intestinal fortitude hadn’t gotten the memo.
Then one night during my usual bout with insomnia, sprinkled somewhere between prayers and futile attempts at meditation, it was silly Instagram post that actually took root:
You are not stuck at home. You are SAFE at home.
One little tweak and the world is different.
I can’t control this. The government can’t control this. Not how long it will last or what it will do. The only control I have right now is my reaction. Even our national preoccupation with numbers is just another veiled attempt to control what’s uncontrollable. For me, there is relief in the realization. Each day as I watch my husband go off to work at the hospital, it takes a lot of energy to hold up the universe.
Long before this pandemic, I’ve always believed that the true currency of life isn’t money—it’s time. And if that’s true, then we’ve all been given a great gift.
By some miracle, my three boys are getting along better than they ever have. They laugh. They wrestle. We eat dinner together as family every night. Most days, my husband and I take long walks, checking-in with each other in ways that used to happen only monthly.
They are tiny moments, but they’re mine.
It took me some time to feel this way. Some days, my emotions are still a rollercoaster. Wherever you are, give yourself permission to cope without judgement. At the risk of stealing the writer Glenn Doyle Melton’s famous sentiment, “Carpe diem or don’t.” Just don’t beat yourself up.
There is a bit of teen slang that keeps coming back to me. As the days mount and the news worsens, it seems even more relevant. Whenever I ask my oldest son how he’s doing—good or bad—he always has the same answer, “I’m fine, mom—I’m just ‘vibing.’”
Right now—more than ever—‘vibes’ are all we have.
One of the best bits of coping advice I’ve heard lately is to journal. Experts say it’s important to record your feelings and experiences as both catharsis and keepsake, and that your children should do the same. And why not? As we yearn so desperately to return to our old lives, shouldn’t we stop to reflect on which parts are worth rushing back to? What do we really have right now? What matters? However long this takes, there are things the C-word can never take from us: Our families. Our stories. Our faith.
This too shall pass. If we stay home, if we pray. If we ‘vibe.’ Whatever you’re doing is exactly enough…and that’s the most important gift I can think of.
How are you coping? Comment with you're favorite suggestions and advice!