“The New Normal” – Week 1

It’s been 8 days since I’ve technically “been out.” Last Saturday, we spent the morning walking around a mostly deserted Jamestown, hitting the beach, the docks and the mostly deserted main street. We stopped for take out coffee at a favorite spot, East Ferry Deli, and grabbed a chocolate granola bar for Leo. On the way home, we stopped at Home Depot and Frank ran in to grab a few things. We knew we’d be laying low for a while and figured it’d be a great time to get things done around the house.  My brother and niece came over to ride bikes and play. We allowed the kids to go on a neighborhood playground (purelling them thoroughly after). This whole thing was so foreign to all of us, I don’t think we really knew what to do or what lie ahead.  By Monday though, everything changed and I felt like we were entering an alternate universe.

I normally work from home, and to be honest, since having kids I feel like I’m pretty socially distant in general these days. I didn’t realize how much I actually do rely on certain outings, human interactions and connections though until this week.  I was supposed to have a work meeting on Cape Cod which was obviously cancelled. Every Wednesday and Friday I bring the kids to my parents and it was hard not doing so this week. I am a self proclaimed coffee shop wanderer and thrive on grabbing a cup and oftentimes working from my favorite local haunts.  On the weekends, we love to take rides, grab to-go bagels or breakfast and just be out and about.  We are lucky to have a great neighborhood for walking, with trails, fields and playgrounds nearby, however seeing neighbors became an awkward social dance not knowing what to say or how close to get. Our natural human reaction to move towards, touch and lean in is slowly being replaced with fear, apprehension and uncertainness.

This week was a blur and slightly surreal.  Frank was on “spring break” so he mostly watched the kids while I worked. Daycare was closed and we kept the kids away from grandma and grandpa. I remember thinking on Day 1 how this would be kinda fun. I embraced it as a snow-day-like family bonding time. I made “5 minute bodega egg & cheeses” for breakfast that I had bookmarked on Instagram. Leo and I did morning yoga and we did a family walk somewhere in between.  But each day things got a little more real and my anxiety kicked into high gear.  Is that a tickle in my throat? Can I get it from my mail? Is the grocery store safe? Is delivery safe? Is anything safe??

The rest of the week was a mix of “this too shall pass” and me “quarantining” all my mail and packages and lysol wiping a 2 pound bag of M&Ms. Yes, I’m that person… A need for some exercise both of the body and mind led to daily yoga sessions with Leo and me finally starting the “5 Minute Daily Journal” Frank bought me two Christmases ago.

I’ve come close to tears a few times. I’m not the best at handling stress, change or a loss of control. I fear for my parents, my community, my family, myself, and the world.  I feel helpless and also infuriated at times. I won’t get political on here and I quickly learned my lesson from doing so on Facebook recently, but I think most people know where I stand on our current president…

As the weekend comes to a close, I’m choosing to focus on the positives and readying myself for another week of “the new normal.”  I’m grateful for the health of my family and this extra time with the kids. I know that the current healthy status of those I love most could change at any moment, so every morning I wake up feeling good, it’s a good day. (Namaste)

This morning Leo and I went on a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood. Last night we made lasagna and baked brownies. We taught Leo to play Go Fish and had a family game night, boys versus girls. Lyla is close to crawling (and walking) and talking up a storm.  We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, and at the moment both Frank and I are still gainfully employed.  I plan to write as often as possible during all this because A) it’s therapeutic to me and B) it’s sure something worth documenting. Hopefully I can look back at these posts in a few years or a few decades and tell the tale with a happy ending for all mankind…

I’ll wrap up with a random list in no particular order of things that have helped me when I’m feeling sad or anxious:

  • Watching Friends reruns
  • Listening to Kenny Chesney or Billy Joel
  • Wine
  • Baking and cooking
  • Lyla’s laugh
  • Leo making Lyla laugh
  • Leo kissing Lyla/telling her he loves her/being a sweet big brother
  • Leo picking me dandelions and saying “I love you mom”
  • Leo doing yoga with me (and changing into his “yoga outfit” each morning)
  • Texting or Facetiming family and friends
  • Taking a long walk
  • Writing
  • Making lists
  • Keeping busy
  • Thinking about a year from now…

Please comment and let me know what’s been working for you!

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