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We're All {a Little} Mad Here

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I never much cared for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland as a child and my opinion hasn’t much changed in adulthood. I attempted to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll in third grade because I thought I was a more precocious child than my actual intellect proved to be – I never finished. My apathy toward fantasy only grew and I struggle with the genre to this day. But as we approach the 70th day of our stay-at-home order, I can’t help but think of the infamous line uttered by the mysteriously terrifying Cheshire Cat, “We’re all mad here.”

The fuses in our household seem to be getting shorter and our resolve to go with the flow is slowly being chipped away by the realization that there isn’t really an end in sight. And as we approach Memorial Day – a holiday weekend we’ve always traveled over, we can’t help but feel a bit defeated. Our county is currently one of the designated COVID-19 hot spots so as tempting as it may be to travel to the mountains for a night or two, we can’t in good faith put others at unnecessary risk. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that our mental health is taking a hit as we bunker down for the greater good.


We’re lucky – we have each other, our health, money, and a safe home with access to multiple trails. And yet we still have not-so-great days. My husband and I are doing everything ‘right’ and have maximized the stay-at-home order to our advantage – we’re in the best shape of our lives, we’re drinking less, and our relationship is as solid as ever. So why do we struggle to stay afloat and to wear our “We can do this!” t-shirts on the not-so-great days? Our children have similar days once or twice a week. Distance learning is far from the ideal environment for our family and they’re starting to really feel the confines of existing in a world that is much smaller than the one they lived in three months ago. All four of us are trying our best but you know what? Our best doesn’t necessarily feel good enough.

I suppose that our impending move halfway across the country is adding to the stress but that isn’t anything we haven’t experienced before. We’re used to our lives being upheaved, we’re familiar with goodbyes, and we’re well-versed in the art of learning to nest somewhere new. But we’re not used to living in a pandemic – especially one as politicized as this one. Our little safe haven consists of us digesting the onslaught of news and sifting through partisan slants to find the happy place where the truth lives. That in itself is exhausting, especially on top of our new daily routine. So when I think about how I can make this pandemic more magical and fun for our children (and ourselves), it feels like I am sending a bucket down into an empty well.

I am worried. For the country. For my family. For me. Life will not be returning to normal anytime soon. Although – I do wonder what is normal? The world changed so much after the Spanish Flu pandemic for our ancestors so it’d be quite cavalier to assume that our experience would lead us back to life the way it was – or at least the way we were comfortable with it. Therefore, I am resolved to treat this holiday weekend as a reset. Instead of working to make life as normal as possible, our little family is going to spend the next few days embracing all the ways it isn’t. And perhaps stop trying so hard. We’re all {a little} mad here. And you know what? Maybe that is okay.

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