To say it’s been a crazy few months would probably be an understatement. I was scrolling through the photos on my phone yesterday and this is what the days leading up to looked like:
February 29: Lucas slept over at my parents house. Betsy and I took Alena and went out for coffee.
March 1: We went to church in the morning and in the afternoon I took the kids out for a hike.
March 4: I took a lovely walk around central campus on my lunch break.
March 8: It was 60 degrees and Lucas’s soccer team had practice – outside!
March 10: I voted in the presidential primary.
March 11: I went with Lucas and his class on a field trip to the art museum.
It was all so normal. We were making plans to have a small party to celebrate Alena’s first birthday and brainstorming some ideas of fun things we might do over Lucas’s spring break. But March 12 ended up being the last day Lucas went to school. March 13 was the last day I went to work. I remember thinking on the first day of the lock down, “Oh, well, I guess we’ll be home for a few weeks and then things will go back to normal in April”. It’s June 29. Some things vaguely resemble our pre-coronavirus existence. Most things are still radically different.
Our perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic has, predictably, been colored by the fact that Betsy is part of a particularly vulnerable population. We have been über cautious and I feel good about that decision. Even before cases started being reported locally, Betsy was starting to venture out less. We are pretty avid hand washers and usually have hand sanitizer when we go out but all of us were being even more diligent. My boss and I talked about the possibility of working from home for a time. Still, I never imagined how much our life was going to change over the next few months.
The good news in all of this, is that we have all stayed healthy! (“PTL” as my mother-in-law would say)
We did the home school routine for two and a half months! I am personally very grateful for Betsy’s willingness to do the heavy lifting with respect to Lucas’s education. Being married to a teacher has its advantages. If it weren’t for her there is a pretty good possibility Lucas would be repeating the second grade next year. 😉 Lucas’s actual teacher did a great job organizing lessons and having video class meetings. On the last day of school, Lucas still considered second grade to be his favorite year of school.
Initially, Betsy was worried she wouldn’t be able to work at all since it was unsafe for her to see her tutoring students in her home office. But in the end, she was able to continue tutoring remotely using FaceTime. The parents of her students have been super supportive and willing to help out during the sessions when necessary! She works every day during my lunch break and a couple of evenings as well.
Since March I have only been going out to get groceries once a month. I leave early in the morning to try and get to stores before they got too crowded and I usually make stops at 5-6 different stores to make sure I can get everything we need and not give the impression that I am being a complete hoarder. And once I get home, I wipe everything down that needs to come into the house immediately and organize non-perishables that can stay in the garage for a few days. Maybe it is overkill, but we were not (and still are not) interested in taking any unnecessary risks. We’ve been extremely grateful for the friends and family that have been willing to grab us milk and eggs (and chocolate) in between my marathon grocery runs.
The biggest thing is that we really did go into a pretty hardcore isolation. We would take walks around the block when we knew there wouldn’t be many people out and did a lot of playing in our backyard but that was really it for the better part of three months. We had a handful of visits from people who came to wave and say hello through our front windows. We have been grateful for the technology that has still allowed us to interact with so many people; what would we have done if this had happened 20 years ago before FaceTime and Zoom and Blue Jeans? In the last couple of weeks, we have started seeing other human beings (only outdoors and with plenty of social distancing) and it has been really nice. But I suspect it will still be quite some time before we step foot into someone else’s house or invite others into our home.
It has been hard to have many of our normal routines completely dismantled. There has been a loss of freedom. But it hasn’t felt hard to make these sacrifices for Betsy’s sake and for the sake of many others. And we are so grateful for those who have been doing the same! I don’t know what the future will hold. I have no idea if or when I will go back to working in the office. We have lots of questions about what Lucas will do about school in the fall. We have personal plans that are all kind of up in the air.
All the way back in March, I was doing a Lenten inspired Instagram challenge and there were Bible verses for each day and you had to come up with a pictorial representation. The verse from Day 36 was Jeremiah 32:37-38. “I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people and I will be their God.” It’s been good to reflect on God’s faithfulness and the promise of restoration, even amidst so much uncertainty, these last several months.
We miss you all and hope to see you soon!