I’m Grateful Not to Be Holed Up with Toddlers

And other thoughts about the coronavirus pandemic.

Responses to the coronavirus pandemic have been as varied and diverse as our population, ranging from outright panic to sanguine nonchalance. My family is no exception.

My daughter sounds like a true introvert when she talks about being in lockdown mode. “Personally, I am beside-myself-delighted that everything is cancelled for the next two weeks. To get to rest, spend time with my family, and get extra work done around here for a two-week period of time is like a gift.

“No school schedules! No church/youth group/special Easter program practices! Greatly reduced driving! Time for the kids to catch up on studying, time to work on farm projects, and time to exercise.

Amazing!”

My son, on the other hand, is stranded at home with two toddlers and a pre-teen.

“I’ve already tipped our babysitter to move us to the top of her waiting list,” he said. His employer cancelled all travel so he’s working from home, which would be fine if day cares and schools weren’t cancelled. But they are, so he is frantically recruiting babysitters.

He listened to an interview with an expert on how to keep your children from panicking over coronavirus, only the advice came too late. He had already watched Outbreak with the kids.

My partner, a teacher, was upset at first that school was cancelled, then happy about it when another teacher tested positive.

My mother, who is 100, was miffed that I wouldn’t drive her to the mall.

“I’m not taking you to the mall when everybody is being urged to stay home,” I told her.

“I’m not afraid of the virus,” she said. She reminds of the 103-year-old grandmother whose granddaughter tweeted, “I don’t even think kryptonite would faze my nana.”

As I sit home and wait for the next wave of closings and cancellations, I’ve decided my response will be to list some of the things I’m grateful for during the pandemic.

Like my daughter, I’m grateful that everything is cancelled and I don’t have to go anywhere.

I must admit, I’m also grateful for Netflix.

I’m especially grateful for my partner’s lifelong tendency to buy massive quantities of stuff from Sam’s or Costco. Before we heard about the raid on toilet paper, we already had our own stockpile, a mountain of rolls piled in the closet. As my son pointed out when I questioned the reason behind this toilet paper madness: “Have you ever been stuck in the bathroom and realized you were out?”

I’m grateful for electricity. My computer works, and so does the oven.

And let’s not forget my car, which probably knows its own way to the Chick fil A drive-through by now.

I’m thankful my mother is so easily diverted from wanting to go to the mall. Turn on Andy Griffith, bake her a chocolate pie and she’s good.

Probably most of all, I’m grateful I’m not holed up with toddlers. There are some consolations to growing older.

I don’t want to leave out gratitude for my writing (and reading), which helps me make sense of the world and allows me to glimpse how others are coping (or not).

I’m writing this after reading posts by Stephen Sovie and Sherry McGuinn on their coronavirus experiences. Sherry writes about being frightened of the mob mentality and the need for us all to come together. Stephen also emphasizes the importance of sticking together at times like these.

How can we stick together, outside of not panicking and not hoarding all the toilet paper? My church cancelled services for the next three weeks, but our minister encouraged us to check in with those who are vulnerable; to make sure they aren’t suffering during this isolation.

That sounds like a good idea.

Maybe it’s time to to look beyond ourselves and our fear; to make common-sense decisions without overreacting.

The first line of Rudyard Kipling’s poem If comes to mind:

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”

This virus is serious, and some people seem to be losing their heads. But remember: This too shall pass. And for that, I’m grateful.

Writer, editor, publisher, journalist, author, columnist, believer in enjoying my journey and helping other people enjoy theirs. bknicholson@att.net

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