With this week, we have all been home for over four weeks with the rare exception of the weekly grocery runs by the husband. Some days, the kids and I step out for some sun keeping to the small grassy oval in front of our home. On adventurous days, I even walk the full loop, a stretch of paved walkway about two miles long.
Between the husband and I, we have been making three meals from scratch each day. We have been eating every meal together as a family. We have fallen into a routine of sorts. There are moments when something sets one or both of us off but those moments seem far and few in between. As much as I long for a semblance of life before the quarantine, what I really long for is the absence of fear, the hope for trivial and big things, the ability to plan months ahead.
I see memes and news articles about the divorce rate post quarantine and I know I should at least smile but what I feel is sadness. Partnerships take a lot of work. Work that is largely invisible. It takes years of rubbing off the hard edges and finding things that fit. Work inside and outside the house takes some of that strain of living in close quarters all the time away.
If I am mad at something, I could blow off steam by driving out, meeting a friend for a meal or just walking out of the house in a huff. When those avenues are either not available or risky, it makes it imperative for us to create ways to channel that discontent, to regulate it before it becomes all-consuming.
If these four weeks are any indication, I think we have managed fairly well. We have our off days and our good days. I take the mantle of worrier-in-chief and he persuades me that we are all but a speck in this universe. It balances out.
I see my children sneak extra reading time after they are tucked in. I see the nice moleskin journals I had kept for a special occasion now being used religiously by all three kids. I see the clutter and the chaos and I also see the little things, origami boxes, paper birds, hand-written notes, random pictures in hand made frames, hastily scribbled I-Love-You(s).
I herd the children to the basement, task them with clearing out unwanted stuff. I hear giggles and I giggle myself. I manage to get work done as I enjoy the sounds of friendly banter from below. I trade messages with friends, catch up with my cousin and, include long-forgotten best friends in my prayers every day.
Amid the isolation, there has been so much joy. Amid the chaos, there are pockets of calm. Amid the anger, there is love. Amid the tiredness, there is satisfaction.
There is balance and in a weird way, I am finding myself accustomed to this new norm.