Every day I hear the question asked. It might be from a friend, or on Facebook, or in the media: “When will life go back to normal?”
People are sick of coronavirus. People are sick of the deaths and the illness. People are sick of not being able to see and hug their family and friends. People are sick of the unpredictability, the anxiety, and the fear. Me too.
But I don’t want life to go back to normal.
Before coronavirus, my husband, the kids, and I were rushing to get from place to place, counting down the minutes from breakfast to bathroom to daycare to ensure we would get to work on time.
Now we have a slower pace. Mealtimes are not as stressful. We are not on the clock. We have more time to be. We are all more relaxed, we spend more quality time together, and we feel an even stronger bond together.
Before coronavirus, I was lucky if I got 2,500 steps in on a normal day.
Now, I at least double that. With no commute, we have extra time to get out for more walks and bike rides. We have all been benefiting from the fresh air and exercise, too.
Before coronavirus, I longed for the days I could bake. I would cook for survival, but rarely for enjoyment.
Now, I bake multiple times a week and get to share this with my kids. I am furthering their enjoyment of relating to food and being involved in a creative process. They practice turn-taking. And I sneak in nutrition and math lessons at the same time.
Before coronavirus, I really didn’t know many of my neighbors.
Now, I have become friendly with the people who, like me, are often out walking. I have gotten closer to many of my daughters’ classmates’ families. We are strengthening our neighborhood community.
Before coronavirus, I would often worry about decisions I had to make, especially involving the kids. I would worry about whether my daughter should be in a swim class. I would worry about whether I was staying true to my way of parenting.
Now, I still worry. But I have also become more relaxed. This virus is a complete unknown, and the rules change every day. I’ve been able to lean in to the experience and ride the waves of uncertainty. I’ve also realized that many of the things I worried about don’t matter that much — we’ve got our health, and that’s number one. I’ve also learned that sometimes there is room for flexibility. (And I’ve learned the value of chocolate chips in bribing a 2-year-old to nap.)
I desperately want this virus to go away. I want to be able to go outside and not feel like a pariah. I want to stop recoiling when someone gets close to me. I want to stop feeling relief when the daily death count is under 50. I want my parents to be able to see and hug my children.