Saturday, April 18, 2020

Observations from StayAtHome

As I woke up this morning, I was reflecting on this time we have had at home over the past five weeks. It's only officially been four weeks since we learned of the true StayAtHome order (and still a few days short of it being four weeks its been in effect) but it was five weeks ago that things started to close. First to close for us was the schools, then restaurants for dine-in, then gyms, then non-essential businesses and so on.

On one hand, I feel isolated with no where to go and miss time spent with people (outside of those that I live with). I miss going to the kids' sports and school events. I enjoy watching them do the things that they love and the chance to connect with friends that I only see at those events (who has time in their schedule to see them otherwise). I miss being able to go to the gym and visit with people as I walk on the track or swim in the pool or take a class with friends. Sure, I am getting out and walking each day but even though I am getting in my activity and decompressing in the process just like I would at the Y, it is not the same as it lacks that social element. (Actually, I am pretty proud that I have found the opportunity every day for the past 35 days to get out for at least a 30 minute walk. Considering the rain and snow, I had to make an effort to find the right time to get out.) I miss getting together with friends for hanging out or game night, I miss going out for dinner or trivia, I miss having plans.

I know that the kids are also feeling it too, although I would say it feels like it is impacting my son more than my daughter. He has reached the point of bored where he went for a 7 mile bike ride last weekend. No destination, just a ride. Yesterday, it was snowing and he wanted to get outside for a bit. He wasn't sure what to do but settled on getting in some swings of the bat, hitting the ball off the tee into the net. This actually surprises me a bit because I would have always said my daughter is more social than my son - I think though now that I reflect on it, he has always been very dedicated to sports and spends a lot of time on a sports field and even when he hangs with friends there is usually some type of sport involved. It isn't that he isn't social, its just that he does more group social activity than one on one. My daughter is all about spending time with friends and although she does a lot of that through sports too, her and her friends can spend hours just spending time together.
I don't even get my normal weekly get away to the store (one constant that I can always count on regardless of the schedule is getting to the store to buy food), as I am almost exclusively shopping online for curbside pick up of my groceries. As I have shared, I am an in person shopper - in part to connect with others and in part because I like to explore and consider my choices - so this shopping online is not natural for me. I also find it is not easy to explore products online - you can't exactly walk down the aisle and see all your options. I have found that some stores do more abbreviating in their names making searching challenging even. I am very appreciative of those stores that have apps and I can scan barcodes of the products I have at home, then I don't have to figure out how to locate the item online. I am still rotating through stores based on what time slots I can get. Normally, I am going out about every 10 days for groceries and every other day it seems to Target for a pick up of odds and ends. This next week is an odd one as I have two grocery pick ups scheduled. The one store has a sale on 2L of soda and the other has the beer that my husband enjoys and we are out of. I haven't yet filled out my orders but anticipate that the first one will be a really light order, since I just picked up groceries last week and have been buying for two weeks at a time. I will likely make the second one be my next 'regular' pick up and fill it out with milk, bread and eggs.

On the other hand though, having no plans, no place to be has been kind of nice. There is a certain leisure to being able to get up in the morning and take care of a few chores and then to simply sit down with a coffee and a book or movie or my puzzle. It is nice to be able to have time to bake each week - I have used the same bread recipe each week but it is a little different each week (better in my opinion).
It is nice to be able to find time for a 30 minute walk each day - without having to try to squeeze it in between things or before it gets too dark. In fact, everyone is finding time to get out and be active - whether going for a walk, a run, a bike ride or simply playing in the yard. It is nice to sit down as a family each day and enjoy our meals at a normal time (we usually eat together, it just is squeezed in or after all our things) and to spend our evenings hanging out watching Jeopardy!, a TV series or a movie. Everyone has developed a new routine. We are staying up later and sleeping in. We are keeping our meals mixed up to avoid boredom and still finding a chance each week to do pick up from a local restaurant (and occasionally from Chik-fil-A because who can resist those sandwiches).

This time home has certainly made me appreciate time at home. Normally, it's only on that random Saturday where games got called due to rain that we legitimately have a completely unplanned day. I like doses. I suppose right now, as we all have our new routines, that it feels a little less unplanned but certainly is unrushed. The kids have flexibility on when to do their schoolwork most of the time, the exceptions being when there is a class online or a quiz that has to be done in a certain timeframe. Most of their work has a weekly rather than a daily due date.

We learned this week that the governor hopes to begin to open things up on May 1. There is officially a light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, the opening will be gradual and will not be 'full' but it is a move in the direction of returning to normal. I am hopeful that all of us will remember this time and will find ways to keep some unplanned/unrushed time in our schedules and will appreciate the little things that we had taken for granted.

How are things in your part of the world?