Note: I am a processor. I need time to think, understand, and feel out a situation before I feel safe to share. It has only taken me eight months to feel comfortable to share this, my raw fear and anger about the pandemic. Little did I know at the time that so much more was about to happen. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Wild Fires. The list goes on. I share this with you because I like to control, and I had to let go in order to get through this. Please remember, this was written when it all started.
It's been seven weeks of the Shelter in Palace, and it's only now that I can write about it. I tend to keep my mouth shut until I've processed a situation. I'm still processing this one, but I'm feeling like I am on steady ground, knowing a little more about what this new life has in store for us (the collective we.) Somewhat of a routine has formed.
Our family thrived the first two weeks of SIP, when it was fun and exciting, and it seemed that we had gained a more extended spring break. We were creating, volunteering; we had a mission to all doing our part.
By week 3, the reality of this going past spring break was real. School was canceled, California extended SIP, and we were running out of toilet paper. My husband and I nose-dived into anxiety and anger. What was once fun and exciting was now a burden. Like the pandemic, our outlook of the situation changed in a blink of an eye.
I became very irritable.
I started enforced crazy expectations for my kid's learning, set outrageous goals for my business, and the perfectionist archetype came out in full force around the house, "Who left this microscopic crumb on the couch?"
If we were going to be living like this, I figured we better be super productive and have something to show for this time. The more I controlled, the worse I felt.
This was not me.
Last week, I set my eyes on conquering our backyard. Riddled with weeds, I decided to pick every last one of them. I had been out there for an hour when a thought came to me, "Give it away."
This guidance has visited me before. It was the motivation behind donating the 5,000 bars of soap in March, so I trusted these words of wisdom. But what did "Give it away" mean in this situation? Then it dawned on me. I had to give away this anger, this control. Being angry and tired was exhausting. It was time to put down my armor and accept this life. We don't need to do anything. We were all going to be fine.
That night, to my family's surprise, I announced: "Everyone, we are going to be fine. If you want to stop what you are doing, that's fine. If you want to skip your zoom calls and this outrageous schedule I've set for you, do it. I love you and want what's best for you, but this schedule is way more stressful than it has to be."
Applause rang through the house.
Since then, our routine has morphed into something completely different. We all reset our internal clocks. We wake up when our body says. We know we have to get work done (school, soap, teach Eric is a teacher), and we have a flexible schedule to do it in. The day's goal is to get your work done, create something, do your chores, and go outside. Each person gets to decide how they do that. I know this doesn't work for every family. The age of your kids determines what your life looks like. But it works for us.
It's 100% normal to grasp on to resemblance of stability during uncertain times. That's one reason why we control. However, I had to let go of my control for the sanity of myself and those around me. I had to have faith that all was going to be ok. And let our life unfound in a natural way.
I know that many families are on the front lines. I want to acknowledge that. Thank you for keeping us safe.
What has worked for your family?