As a nation I think we all agree this has been a rough few weeks. I’ve been able to maintain an optimistic outlook for the most part in the midst of this crisis, focusing on what I can control (work, meals, caring for my little family, staying connected to friends) and expressing gratitude daily. It’s kept me fairly levelheaded and somewhat sane, with just a few tears here and there - but this morning, when I saw the three tote bags of clean laundry on my porch, I straight up lost it. Ugly cried. We’re talking “had to step outside and shut the door so the kids wouldn’t worry” cry.
You see, my parents live a few streets over from us, and we’ve grown accustomed to doing life together. However lately, like the rest of the country, we haven’t been able to be closer than six feet to either of them due to closely abiding to “safer at home,” praying this isn’t necessary very soon.
Before COVID-19 dominated every conversation, Mom watched my three-year-old, Annie, and one-year-old Ollie, two days a week at our house while I worked in the office. She taught them new songs, took them on adventurous bear hunts and somehow managed to knock out 2-3 loads of laundry. It was always such a big help and comfort to have her with us and something we’ve sorely missed since the world turned upside down.
So a few days ago, she asked if she could do our laundry until all this passes. Of course I said no – I would feel so weird! Then she said please, that she had plenty of things to organize at the house but she didn’t want to just stay busy – she wanted to help even if, especially since, she can’t be with us. How could I say no? I couldn’t, and so we dropped off the dirty with an added air hug and now here I am, looking at the clean so neatly placed with such care.
It’s an ordinary and amazing act of kindness and that’s exactly who my sweet Mama is. Always doing, always giving, always looking for ways to lighten our load. I wish I could hug my Mama, and Dad, too. My daughter asks to eat supper at “Nandy and Nana’s house” every night and I try my best to explain to her why we can’t do that for a little while. We Face Time and Zoom but it’s not the same as everybody being together. It’s tough.
I know all of us are separated from the ones we love right now and there is comfort in the solidarity but whew, it hurts, doesn’t it? We are being hit with this in different ways and different waves and we're all just doing our best. This is an unprecedented challenge that none of us ever dreamed we’d be faced with but there is joy to be found. We all feel a little lost in this season of uncertainty and yet there are so many moments where what truly matters rises back to the top. Giving joy. Providing a safe space.
So I sit beside my laundry and have a good cry.
Then I thank God. For the blooming trees and chirping birds that remind me there are brighter days ahead with lots and lots of hugs. For a healthy family, tucked safely inside a house we’ve made our home. For the doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and truck drivers who are the true heroes keeping everything going while the rest of us shelter at home. For clean laundry. For my Mama and for another day God has given us.