I had to go to Target the other day for baby Aspirin. Yep, I was running out of my little yellow pill.
We first stopped at Costco, but the long line of people waiting to get in was too long on this cold, windy Salt Lake afternoon. We did not need any other bulk items. My husband could wait on some of his supplements. So, off to Target we went.
It is surreal to enter a store once vibrant with moms and their kids. Everyone tries to stay the 6 feet apart to social distance. Employees are disinfecting the handles of the shopping carts as you enter. The Starbucks is closed for business. Hadn't I just ordered my Mango Drangon fruit Refresher from there a few days ago? I quickly find my aspirin and cruise back to the grocery section to pick up some bananas for the kids. I sent my oldest son back to check to see if there are any vinyl records that interest him. Since we spend almost all day indoors, a new record could help to liven the spirit.
The grocery section seems to be stocked okay. While, the shelves of the home supplies section are bare or sparsely filled. There is no toilet paper, napkins, hand sanitizer or alcohol. Evidence of a world of hoarding and fear in the community. Fears that grow even greater as daily the number of cases and reported deaths fill our mobile news feeds and television reporting. Is this really happening? Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago we were planning our Spring Break trip and looking forward to seeing our family in California?
We had to tell the kids this week that their Spring Break trip to Grandma's house to California and to the beach for Easter had been cancelled. They tried to negotiate.They would stay indoors with their beloved cousins. We could drive down without going into places. We would just need to stop to charge the car. We could take our drinks and snacks with us. We could make sure to hand sanitize and limit as many exposures as we could think of. But, with my parents in the late 60s and in a hot bed of COVID-19 cases and with an immunocompromised 24 y/o sister on home dialysis awaiting a kidney transplant, we ultimately decided the better part of valor would be to stay home. The kids understand. There were no tears, but an acceptance that protecting those that we loved the most would be the best decision.
COVID-19 has affected us in so many ways, even if we have not officially known someone infected with the virus. My brother has been identified as a potential kidney donor for my sister, but that evaluation cannot proceed until this is over translating into additional months of dialysis. While "homeschooling" is providing some element of education, my kids are still spendings way too many hours on their electronic devices. At least the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a statement that parents should not worry during this time about their children's screen time. I then think of the thousand or even millions whose lives have been devastated by this virus. Jobs have been lost. Loved ones have been lost. When or what will the ultimate end-point be?
For me, it is a return to a more familiar routine. How fast we slip back into past circumstances. The familiarity of "home prison" is not anxiety provoking. My kids and I spent years with me not driving after my stroke. We lived in a lovely home on a gorgeous lake about an hour north of Atlanta. You had to drive at least 5 miles to the grocery store. There was no way to walk to school. It was us in a big house where the walls would at times feel so close because we were stuck there unless my husband, a friend or a family member could drive us. We adapted well. I learned to order groceries for at least a week. We ate more frozen stuff than I would have liked, but it was what we needed to do. We learned that milk could be frozen and defrosted well. We learned that we could connect with our family around the country via FaceTime and phone calls. Their love and support came through overwhelmingly even though we could not physically be together. We survived. We were stronger for our trials. We strengthened our bonds and learned that we could work through the trials and obstacles that were put in our way. I learned to ask for help. I learned to love audiobooks. I learned that everyday was a new day to make a goal, however small, and to work towards it. A sense of accomplishment, however small, make the day feel like a success.
I have full confidence that we will make it through this difficult time as a community, a nation and as a collective world family. It is not easy. It is hard. All of our lives have been disrupted. But, I know we will be stronger for it. We will all learn something about ourselves and our ability to do hard things.