“When life gets you down…just keep swimming…”
Never did I think that I would be taking notes from a Disney movie, but here I am, just swimming.
At the beginning of last month, I was more excited to celebrate my mom’s birthday, my anniversary, my husbands birthday and my brothers birthday. Little did I know March was going to be as wild as it was.
We typically stay in most of the time and occasionally go to the park, but it wasn’t until I had to purchase water and diapers and venture out that I realized how maddening things were getting and very quickly. I had to make roughly three trips to finally find the diapers I needed for my baby. Soon after having such a difficult time finding necessities for my babies, I realized how quickly this was escalating.
I think we all saw it coming, but we were all still hopeful that it wouldn’t become our new normal…yet here we are. Some of us have decided to self-isolate, quarantine, social distance – whatever you want to call it. We are home and need to figure things out day by day. Let’s also remember that there are many people still out there that do not have the protections or privileges of being able to stay at home, still have pay (or have accrued sick time) or even the support of their employer to stay home. Even with state orders, there are many people that do not have the luxuries of being home. If they stay home, they won’t eat or even have a home to stay at. While I definitely consider myself very blessed to be at home with my babies, that doesn’t mean that life is all roses here, either.
These days have been filled with lots of uncertainty. You can see the proof on my body. The proof of my anxiety can be seen on my hands and nails, or lack thereof them. I used to be really bad and then coped with it better and had other techniques to stop biting my nails. You see I used to be a news junkie. It all started when I was around 12 years old probably. I would get home from school, do my homework maybe watch some cartoons like the Animaniacs, and then I would watch the 4 0’clock news then Primer Impacto with my abuelita and continue watching the news until 7pm. I knew everything that was happening in the world – good or bad, I knew it. Then one day I deliberately decided to stop watching the horrible news in front of me. I stopped by the time I was in college. So for a good solid 6-7 years, I consumed a lot of news (more than I probably should have).
So now, here we are again at 40, and I find myself watching way too much news again. I tell myself that I watch it to be informed, but honestly I might just need to watch how bad things are getting to be prepared. I make daily efforts to limit how much I watch and what I watch, but its always there.
So instead I have been biting my nails away. The catalyst for all this anxiety has been worrying about my folks and my in laws, honestly. Mortality hits you straight in the face when things like these happen. No one is really prepared to ever lose a parent and, of course, I check on my parents and in-laws as much as we can. One of the toughest parts of being physically isolated is the inability to hug and kiss my folks.
I recently drove out really fast to drop off some groceries, and as always they went for a kiss and hug because it’s the natural thing to do in our family. But I quickly held back and told them we couldn’t just in case I was sick and infected them. I could see in their eyes the sadness of it all. After leaving them, I cried in my car before heading home and prayed that they stay healthy. I know we all make sacrifices and in the grand scheme of things not seeing my parents is not the end of the world, but when family is so important being away definitely takes a toll.
Since then, we make sure to video chat every night and give our kids a sense of normalcy and continue seeing family, just a little different. We know things will get tougher before they get better and as long as people follow social distancing rules, only leave their home when they must, have a designated person to leave the house and only buy the food they need and not more, I believe we will all come out better and stronger.
So now, little by little I take only few minutes of needed news and spend the rest of my time with my children and continuing to try to be the strong momma I need to be for them. And so I just keep swimming…
If you need help staying sane during all this, here’s a useful guide!