Can we climb this mountain? I don’t know
Higher now than ever before
I know we can make it if we take it slow
Let’s take it easy. Easy now, watch it go
—The Killers, “When You Were Young”
As we all grapple with a new reality (and isolation — ’cause social distancing), I’ve been trying to manage my anxiety with … chocolate? Well, yes. But that’s not ideal. With reading. Breathing. Walking outside. Writing. If I thought it would help, I would totally chew up a few extra anxiety pills.
Daycare has closed. My work schedule has changed but there is still much to be done, which is also true for my husband. We are staying home as much as possible — especially challenging with a 3- and 4-year-old used to weekend adventures. Shenanigans in the park, at the very least. I’ve explained all this to Oliver as “many people are sick right now,” so schools, restaurants and stores are closed. So far, at least, they don’t seem to mind.
We haven’t seen my parents “in person” since Hadley’s birthday, now almost two weeks ago. I haven’t seen my sister, brother-in-law and niece in nearly as long. Their new baby is due in mid-April. After a week with us, my mother- and father-in-law departed for New York this morning. Like all of us, they’re not quite sure what they’ll find when they get there.
After more than 10 years, I wrote my final newspaper column today. I don’t think it’s actually occurred to me that it’s done. I haven’t had a chance to breathe or process … and haven’t wanted to, really. I’m worried that if I start to really think about how scary all this is, it’ll get ugly.
Sometimes I’m OK. Sometimes I’m not. I try to just sit with that and accept it. There is no playbook right now.
Spencer created a daily schedule for all of us this morning (two adults trying to work from home — or checking in, at the very least; two kids who need structure). I think it’s helping. It’s giving me a sense of control, at least, and that’s nearly as important.
I’ve started a folder of screengrabs with positive thoughts, quotes, and ideas to remember when I get overwhelmed (which is often) — that’s helping, too. And I saw this T-shirt and legitimately laughed. I thought about when I was really in a bad place, mental health-wise, and I used to repeat my mantra — be here now — over and over again.
I can’t obsess about the future. Too much is unknown. But I can embrace this moment for all its imperfections, breathe, and be here now.
Here’s a small collection of stories and ideas that are keeping me from “losing heart and courage,” too.
- I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share (Scott Kelly, The New York Times)
- 8 Ways to Help You Maintain Emotional Wellbeing (Kristin A. Meekhof)
- A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus (Children’s National)
- Figuring Out Work and Family in the Age of Coronavirus (Francesca Donner and Corinne Purtill, The New York Times)
What’s getting you through? Any great and hopeful links to share? I’m alllll ears.
Happy Monday, friends. ❤
8 thoughts on “We can make it if we take it slow”
Sorry to hear your column will end, I look forward to them in every issue of the Enterprise. I forward them to my daughter in Richmond, has 3 kids, 1, 6 and 10. Enjoy your musings about children and family. Thanks from an Old Marine and Grampy….God Bless
Thank you so much for reading and finding me here! ❤ Hope you are well. Like your daughter right now home with little ones, I'm wondering if coffee has any protective qualities against coronavirus … if so, I should be golden.
I need that anxiety shirt too! Ha! I’m also coping with chocolate (way too much stress eating right now) and reading and blogging. Everything is just so strange right now.
I’m sorry to hear about your column. Must be very bittersweet.
Thanks, Steph — bittersweet for sure! You know, I started out eating nothing but junk as all this was unfolding … but now that it’s becoming a “new normal,” at least for the time being, I’ve found I have no appetite at all. My stomach is just perpetually jumpy. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around … ? Ugh.
I just read the local paper today and was incredibly disappointed to read that it was your final column (and the final column of the outdoors writer too). I have LOVED your column for YEARS – your writing style, your reflections and insights. (Plus, we have a lot in common – same age, similar kids’ ages, love of reading!) I hope you continue to feel inspired to post here. Best wishes to you and yours as we all figure out our new normal in this strange season. ❤
Hi, Brie! Thank you so much for reading my column and finding me here. I definitely plan to keep writing here, albeit in shorter bursts … which, given you are also on the little-kid struggle bus, you’ll no doubt understand. Hope to see you ’round here again!
My wife and I were so disappointed to read in the Recorder that this was your last column. We have enjoyed every one through the years. I must say that it makes me fear for the future of the Recorder. I see that Jamie Drake’s Outdoors column was also cut. I hope you don’t mind the comparison, but I found your two columns flip sides of the same coin. You both wrote about family and daily life in southern Maryland, her from a nature perspective, your from the perspective of the crazy absurdities of life. Challenging times, but when I go out the birds are singing and building nests, the flowers are starting to bloom, the Chesapeake is as beautiful as ever, and my family is beside me. It is a wonderful world. Keep writing and we will keep reading. You just gained a faithful reader of this blog.
Andy, thank you so much — this really warmed my heart. We’re in a challenging time, for sure, but you’re absolutely right: there are still so many beautiful moments to look for in each day.
Yesterday I watched my kids running along the side of the house through a particularly bumpy stretch, and Ollie actually waited for his sister to catch up. “Hadley, c’mon — it’s Rocky Mountain!” he called out, and something about that moment gave me a crazy sense of peace. ❤
Hope you and your wife will still visit me here! Thank you again.
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