How are you? If I’m honest, in the beginning I was seeing a lot of silver lining in the circumstances with having Nick home (he usually works at a co-working space) and lots of family time and nowhere to be. But after 4-5 days, reality hit and now….things feel really hard. We are so fortunate as a family. Nick has a secure job and he is the majority of our livelihood. As an NP, I have job security. Nick, Cal and I are all healthy.
Like I wrote in the newsletter I sent out a few weeks ago, things feel weird and fragile and uncertain. And understandably so, fear and anxiety can take up camp in our hearts as all the “what ifs” run through our minds. COVID-19 is impacting some far more deeply than others. My brother works in the restaurant industry and for the time being, he is out of a job – a huge financial burden for him. Nick’s cousin has a daughter with T1DM and a wife with rheumatoid arthritis (plus 2 other little children) and he is out of his restaurant job too. Small businesses are hurting, parents are juggling working full-time at home while having to homeschool their littles. Life is hard.
We are doing the simple, yet impactful things of social distancing, thorough hand washing and keeping ourselves healthy with eating regular meals and snacks with carbs + protein + fat (even if that means canned + frozen foods), drinking lots of water and getting as much rest as we can. Which is sometimes laughable with a teething 15 month old. We’re doing our best to slow the spread, protect those more at risk and help where we can. Running to the grocery. Buying gift cards to small businesses. A smile and hello from a distance. The simple things matter!
How are you doing? How is your experience with all this? I am constantly thinking of all the nurses and healthcare providers working endlessly, courageously and selflessly through this <3
A LIFE UPDATE
I am currently taking time off from my job. I work at an outpatient clinic so even though we are seeing sick patients, we are also only seeing half of our usual patient load and providers are being sent home early – so even though me being away isn’t a burden for the clinic, I still have guilt that I’m not/can’t do more right now as a nurse during this time. I’m not working for a couple reasons that I’ll share more about in the coming weeks, but the big one is that we’ve had a family medical emergency that has rocked us. A week and a half ago we got one of those wake-you-up-at-night calls at 11:30pm from Nick’s brother telling us his mom had very unexpectedly gone into cardiac arrest. We drove back to the Midwest (after having negative COVID testing because Nick had been sick the previous week) and have been here with family since. She is currently in the ICU on a ventilator with a long, uncertain road ahead. It’s been a emotional rollercoaster of grief and sadness, but immense hope and laughter sprinkled in there as well. I am thankful work is so supportive and we can be home right now. That is all I’ll share for privacy sake, but if you pray, we’d so appreciate your prayers.
I’ve been off social media for the past 3 1/2 weeks. I plan on staying off until Easter. I originally planned for a month, but then realized it coincided with Lent and although I didn’t plan it, I knew unplugging from most digital stuff would be good for my soul. I read Digital Minimalism in two days right after we got back from London and it sobered me up on my tech use in the best way.
I recently turned 31. THIRTY ONE. I feel grateful for another year of life & health. But at the same time, I feel like I blinked and suddenly I was married and a mom and responsible for a little life and the weight of that responsibility hits me in a good, yet heavy way. I like birthdays – not because I enjoy the celebration, I am actually awkward and weird about that – but because they provide a pause. To think and reflect about what is behind you and what could be on the blank canvas ahead.
I share those three things – hard family stuff, technology quietness, and being a year older – because together, they are creating space for me to sit in discomfort & uncertainty, two places I quickly want to wiggle out of – and to think and process A LOT. I feel the kind, tenderness of God closer than I have in a long time. And that’s a good place to be.
In addition to the slew of emotions that have come with my MIL being critically ill, COVID-19 is an added layer. There are no visitors at hospitals – sometimes they will allow 1 person under certain circumstances in the ICU. That is so heartbreaking. Understandable from a safety standpoint, but brings me to tears from “this is my hurting family” standpoint. I am human. And beyond our immediate situation, I’m sure you are also feeling a mix of feelings (and oscillating bouts of hope and self doubt) as we ride out this pandemic.
We are here in Illinois for the next several weeks. Cal & I will drive down to Indianapolis to see my family here and there, but overall we are camped out in the Midwest for a bit. Whether here or VA, for me, the quarantine is making me feel tired and discombobulated, sad and at times anxious with the unknown timeline. I feel like my days are blurring into one big haze. I feel like I have no time, which is weird because I have a wide open schedule. I am encouraged by humanity. I am hopeful. I am thankful for moments of deep, deep peace about everything going on in my family and the world. I am eating lots of sweets and sugar and that is good for me. Having a 15 month old is exhausting, but also a complete source of joy & light in times like these. I love toddlers.
Nick and I have talked a lot about how to use this time well & navigate this stormy season the best we can. Are you also feeling discombobulated and like WHAT DAY IS IT?! You’re in good company. Hi, I see you. We are in this together juggling the weirdness of life. Here are some things that are acting as anchors to my days and making me feel a bit more tethered.
- time in the bible every morning – this is hard for me on a daily basis with wonky sleep and a small child, but this is a non-negotiable for my emotional/spiritual health right now and so Nick and I are swapping toddler duty so we each have 15-30 minutes of quiet time in the morning
- daily walks – my in-laws live on a very remote farm in Illinois so there isn’t anywhere immediate to walk BUT they do have a very long driveway (~1/3 of a mile) so I walk up and down and up and down a couple times a day while listening to a podcast or talking to a friend
- nature, nature, nature – there are so many cool outdoor spots in Charlottesville (one of our everyday favorites is Riverview) but even here in remote Illinois, there are two awesome nature preserves within a 10-15 minute drive we’ve been exploring every day with Cal no matter the weather. Thirty degrees and severe wind, we are there. Rain and chilly, we are there. It’s more enjoyable when there’s sun, but regardless, the fresh air, Vitamin D and quietness gives me more patience & focus during the day
- changing out of my pjs by 9am & putting on mascara everyday – leggings, a sweater and a few swipes of mascara are a game changer, completely changes the tone of the day
- baking every day – Cal loves to help in the kitchen and having something sweet & satisfying to snack on just helps me get through the days – favorite things we’ve made include these blueberry bars, chocolate pumpkin muffins, this chocolate bundt cake and these chocolate chip cookies (***most of these recipes are vegan because Cal has a dairy allergy and I’m still nursing him – if making vegan recipes is triggering for you, pass on these)
Maybe I’ll do a post on some daily eats during this time if that sounds helpful for you. Also look out for a long, wordy, thought filled post on motherhood & career next week that I sat down a wrote a few weeks ago, but am finally getting around to posting.
Take care of yourself and remember, this will pass and I am in the thick of it with you. Giving you a big hug!