This has been quite a year! For myself, the last 12 months have been filled with some serious highs and lows! And for, I’m sure, everyone 2020 has left us scratching our heads, wondering WTF is next, universe?!?! Murder Hornets! That’s what! *Que uncomfortable laughter… and tears.
No one I’ve talked to could have predicted what our lives would look like by May, except, maybe Arthur. Upset with me one morning in January, he said: “I want to live at my dad’s house, where he’ll celebrate my birthday!” I responded immediately, “Arthur, of course, we will celebrate your birthday here too, but it’s not for another 5 months!” He stopped, pondered this for a moment, and said, “Earth is a weird place.”
Well, my boy, you’ve never been more right! Earth is the weirdest place these days! Covid-19 has changed so much in our daily life, and I wanted to spend some time documenting my experience through this pandemic, to look back on hopefully, more normal times! Maybe, just maybe, you will find this a little bit relatable, and won’t feel quite so alone in your own experience, whatever that may look like.
Let’s backtrack a little bit, roughly two months ago, the Coronavirus starting spreading across Canada. The provincial government announced the closure of schools for, at the time, what was going to be three weeks. My employer had also announced our office would be closed for those same three weeks to help “flatten the curve”. I was honestly excited that Bear and I could hunker down at home, enjoy some quality time, and would head back when my work and his school was going to open up again. Money might be a little tight, but who couldn’t use a mini staycation! This was going to be great! *Que naive AF optimism.
Like most people, I have cycled through every emotion in an attempt to “cope” with the unknown nature of the evolving situation. The bubble didn’t take long to burst when news reports continued rolling out with more and more closures. Now, a total of 7 weeks after being laid off from work, I’m gearing up to head back on Monday and, even that, is met with a new mixed bag of emotions!
There are some real struggles that I’ve faced, but also a lot of positives to document. I will likely never again have 7 weeks of paid time off! And while I certainly wouldn’t call it a vacation, it has been a blessing to have forced time at home and be together with Bear! I recognize so many good things, including qualifying for emergency benefits, so I was never without income. Because of being home, I actually reduced my spending, so I’ve been able to put more money into savings! I’ve connected more consistently with friends online or via text, and can’t wait to see them again in person! Like many millennials, I created a TikTok account (Yes, I fully acknowledge I’m way too old for it), which has provided a much-needed comedic distraction. I have had more time to dedicate to the volunteer board I sit on, and due to being at home, I’m not anxious about getting sick because of our ability to follow physical distancing guidelines as much as possible. Also, while not a big consumer of alcohol, normally, it is a small bright spot to see day drinking as socially (from a distance) acceptable! You can fight me for this afternoon caesar!
But this time hasn’t been without some really hard moments, too. Homeschooling is a nightmare. Actually, it’s been a downright terrible experience, all around. Arthur is missing school and his friends so badly. This is a tough time for kids too, I recognize that, but he has pushed me to my limits when it comes to completing any kind of academic work. Our attitudes totally suck and we butt heads more often than we are enjoying each other’s company! I have yelled and cried more in the last two months than it feels like I have in my history as a parent. We are both losing our cool on a very regular basis! Being at home is great, but feeling trapped at home is so tough for us both. We are feeling very cooped up and it’s making us grouchy, intolerant and regrettably…. not very kind to each other! Even getting outside, while helpful, is not enough to feel “normal”, because the stress of avoiding all other human beings takes a toll. I’m carrying all kinds of guilt, that we haven’t enjoyed many magical bonding moments, completed almost any learning activities, or really made the most of this time at home, in any measurable fashion. I didn’t even bake a single loaf of bread. I. Have. Failed. Quarantine!!! I could burst into tears at any second because I feel that it’s all been wasted! I know it’s not completely true, we are in survival mode, and that looks a lot different than how I had imagined this to be. But it is emotionally draining, all the same, and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end with what feels like nothing to show for it. I wish it never happened AND for it to last longer all in the same breath. It feels conflicting. I’m not happier, or more rested. I’m exhausted and pretty moody. What else is new?
I’ve seen this quote floating around the internet, I can’t seem to track down its original writer, but it really resonated with me: “I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.”-Unknown. It has been quite the storm we’ve shared, but I am aware we are in different boats. While there have been scary times and some struggles, I am constantly reminded of my privilege, in such an insecure period for so many. I also have unending gratitude for those who have been at work throughout this pandemic providing essential services that we rely on, even during hard times! There are “helpers” all over the place and it has been a gift to really SEE them in action! Every time I throw myself a little pity party, I have managed to quickly snap back to the realization that this is quite serious, and I have it VERY good!
Now, as I get set to return to work, there are some new anxieties creeping in. I’m still in training at my job, will I remember everything I’ve learned so far? Will I be able to manage all of the new information and responsibilities that come with opening in the Province’s first wave? Am I putting my family at risk of getting sick? Is it wrong if I enjoy the break away from Arthur, like a lot…. or, is missing him going to make the guilt, for not taking advantage of being home, stronger? In the end, there is really so much that I can’t know until we get into the swing of things. I really hope that it’s this paragraph of the post that future Kalynn looks back on and giggles with how ridiculous these worries were. I’m also feeling very excited to get back to work, to structure, to a regular paycheck with taxes already deducted 😉 and to seeing people outside of my family again!
As life starts to return to normal, or something resembling normal, I think it is expected that there will be struggles adjusting. I’ve never been very good at change. I’m a planner and find it challenging to deviate from that plan. I’m certainly not going to be an example to anyone of how to just relax, and go with the flow, but I do plan on reminding myself daily that the goal isn’t perfection. Flexibility is the key to success! I am working to keep perspective, allow myself to feel all the feelings, and then look for what brings me happiness in what has been a strange and heavy time. One day, in the future, I am looking forward to reading my own account of how things felt at this time. I would encourage you to document in some way, how you’re feeling lately, this is no small thing, and while the storm might be the same, down the road, we are going to be most curious about the condition of your boat!
As always, thank you for reading!
I love ya,