I wanted to make a blog entry showcasing lovely engagement photos or dreamy wedding photos but we aren't able to take part in these until at least June 10th due to public safety.
I've sat at my desk multiple times waiting for the words to spill out for this post. Each time I walked away disappointed in myself for not being able to convey the feelings with the right words. For some reason, they just wouldn't matter if I didn't get them just right.
Currently, everyone is struggling. It could be with homeschooling our children, affording groceries, finding personal time or dealing with the fact that we can't be around loved ones right now.
Everything feels so hard.
This tiny virus has created so much chaos and it's not even done yet.
We often talk about the things we will do when we can get back to "normal" but I am starting to even wonder what normal was to begin with. Living in a world where the news is scary, daily death tolls are climbing and loved ones suffer alone in hospitals isn't normal.
It's entirely too easy to focus on all of the negative swirling around us each day. We are all struggling with our own problems within the bigger issue.
I've tried to think hard on times that made me happy. I often go back to my trip to NYC in February. Even though it was only two months ago, it feels like a lifetime ago.
I wake up each morning trying to remain grateful for the time with my children & my husband. Being effectively stuck at home can be hard. Emotions run high, things can escalate quickly but I remind myself that I am lucky to be able to be at home with my family. If anything, this virus and it's consequences have shed a light on just how important our medical teams really are. I see photos of nurses and doctors with bruises on their faces from working long shifts day after day wearing protection from the patients they treat. These medical professionals have families at home but they willingly wake up each day and walk into the battlefield to care for those affected with this virus.
Some of the stories are heartbreaking & it can all be so easily overwhelming.
Days morph into the next and we wonder when all of this will stop and we can get back to "normal".
I don't know when that day will come but I know that I will never take for granted hugging my family or best friend.
I will never take hanging out with friends for granted.
I will try hard not to forget all of the feelings we are going through during these difficult moments.
I will never take breathing for granted.
On one of the sunniest days we had seen in a while, we ventured out to our local walking trail prior to the Governor issuing the stay at home order.
We soaked up the warm sunlight, enjoyed fresh air & marveled at the beautiful cherry blossoms. We didn't know the stay at home order was just a few days away.
School was closed for the rest of the year here in Virginia.
My heart ached for my children. My two teenagers didn't get to say proper goodbyes to their friends, clean out lockers or enjoy the spring/summer activities planned.
My son never had the opportunity to say good bye to his favorite teacher, Ms. M. Thankfully, his elementary school organized a Honk for Kindness event where the teachers spent three hours driving through the neighborhoods and waving at their students. My son's face lit up and he was overjoyed to see his teacher.
These little moments of kindness have shed some light during this dark time.
It's all about creating positive memories during this tough time.
We are navigating how to school while at home and thankfully all four children have amazing teachers who are doing their best to help their students.
Zoom has been such a lifesaver in this household.
Andrew was able to "meet" his class virtually and his teacher asked each child to bring something for show & tell. He showed off his favorite red car and listened to his classmates share their stories. The teachers are such saints for holding Zoom meetings with multiple 5 year olds. It may not be the traditional way to be a kindergartner but during these ever changing times, this video classroom provided a brief moment of normalcy for these children.
One of my Peloton friends connected me with an actress who holds Zoom meetings as Elsa. The younger two kids have watched Frozen 2 about eighteen million times and know every word to every song. When Elsa's face showed up on the computer screen and she spoke their names, Juliet was enamored. Andrew ran away and refused to take part. (Shh! I think he may have a little crush!) The 15 minutes that Elsa spent talking to my daughter was so special. She spoke to someone who is so big in her world right now and that is something that I will forever be grateful to Meredith for. To see those smiles, hear that laughter and to see her face light up - it meant everything!
My beautifully kind neighbor Miss Cookie works as a respiratory therapist. Even in the midst of taking care of some of the most fragile patients, she was still thinking of everyone else. She decided to purchase a tomato plant for each house on our street. Andrew & Juliet cut out hearts and we wrote "Planting Hope" on each one. She then asked for my teenagers help in dropping one plant on each neighbors porch. She said she hoped it helped light their day a little and help give each person something to look forward to.
She is an incredibly kind, selfless person. On Christmas, she delivers cookies to each neighbor too.
We are so lucky to know her and consider her family.
With all of the time at home, I have been focusing more on my fitness.
I was already taking part in a running and a spinning challenge through my Peloton. My tread and bike have really turned into a sort of therapy. I've learned that I actually enjoy longer rides and participated in my first Pelofondo . I had a goal of riding 50 miles. I crushed that goal! I've even signed up for another Pelofondo on April 25th, but this time I signed up for 62.5 miles! I want to eventually work up to 100 miles! One day I hope to ride outside on the road but I'm just not brave enough yet.
I also participated in the Tour De Peloton. For this challenge, you rode all 23 instructors (two are even in German!) all back to back with no breaks. It took me just short of five hours but I completed the challenge. I am learning so much more about myself with this extra time that I have been given.
I've learned that I am stronger than I ever knew, I am mentally more capable than I give myself credit for and I enjoy longer periods of exercise.
Without this forced break at home, I may have never broken through those barriers. I'm logging more running & biking miles than before!
I've also been training for races with my husband outside and taking the kids for walks in the neighborhoods. Our local trails are too full so we stick close to home. We are discovering the beauty that was in our own back yard.
I am trying to see the bits of light in the middle of the craziness that we are living now.
Some days are definitely harder than others. Days will seamlessly blend to the next, you don't know what time it is and your emotions can fail you at any given moment.
I've found that taking a step back from social media helped me remain present. I needed that break to hear myself.
For now, we have income coming in. I had to make a hard decision on whether or not to go forward with my own photography business. I'm choosing to have faith that we can pull through this.
Together we can do amazing things.
These days are tough. It's important to feel your feelings, acknowledge them and figure out what works for you.
As humans, we are naturally social beings, which makes these times even harder.
Smile once a day.
Check in on your neighbor.
Allow yourself to stay in your pajamas if you want to.
Together, we will get through this.
What's something positive you have realized since Coronavirus made it's presence known?
What's one thing you'll look forward to after this is over?
What are you using to cope with the events going on?