I’ll be honest here, my level of tolerance for this COVID-19 situation -all of it- is critically low. I desperately want my old level of freedom, and my old life, back. Obviously we will come out of this changed, but first we need to be let out. I’m tapping in to stores of patience I never knew I had with this near-constant at-homeness for closing in two full months. Personally, I don’t fear the disease. I do despise the whole mess surrounding it. If you, like me, are having a hard time finding the patience to continue selflessly staying home, I’m telling you, it is ok to be totally selfish today! If selflessness can’t carry you through this, then just think about yourself. Here are a few of the ways that I am being completely self-absorbed.
I’m staying home because my patience with staying home has been ground dangerously thin. Today I am staying home for me. I need international air travel to reconvene and borders to open and quarantines to be a thing of the past so that my parents are able to to visit this summer. My kids are at a precious age that doesn’t last long and I want grandma and grandpa to be able to see them. I’m staying home, still, because the border here has been closed since March 16 and I do not like being cut off from people I love. I’m staying home so my sister-in-law can finally use her passport for the big adventure she deserves. I’m staying home because every day at home is a day wasted not exploring Europe, while we’re living in Europe. I’m enduring our extended stay at home because I am seriously exhausted of the nonstop, ever changing, legitimately confusing newsreel surrounding this, and I just need it to go away as soon as possible. I’ll wear a mask when I leave the house because its mandated to wear a mask when out of the house in Poland, and I can’t wait until I’m able to go on a run without inhaling fabric. I’ll wear a mask because it is nearly impossible to shout instructions at your four-year-old on a bike through one. I’ll wear a mask because I can’t figure out how to politely wipe your nose when it starts running under one in the grocery store. Today I’ll wear a mask because I can’t wait until I can cough in public without feeling criminal. Plus, I don’t know how I’m supposed to sniff all the candles in TK Maxx (thats TJ for you kids at home) with my mouth and nose covered. I need this to be over soon. I’ll wash my hands before I go out, when I get in, not touch my face, and maintain a respectful distance from my fellow human because my competitive side is green with envy when I hear that places like New Zealand are COVID free. Like, they won and we are still struggling to finish the second embarrassing lap. And I can’t wait to hug my friends. I’ll refrain from play dates with other families, even though we miss our friends so, so much, because I want my preschooler to be able to return to his classroom. I’ll stay home so that I can stop wanting to cry every time my four year old tells me that he can’t play with his friends because “the people are sick”. And so I can stop having to attempt an explanation as to why he isn’t allowed at the playground. I’ll FaceTime with my friends today, because I badly want to have a girls’ wine night in real life. Today I will stay home and order carry out because I want to sit in a restaurant this summer. Speaking of restaurants, I will continue to stay home until they tell me I don’t need to, because I desperately want our babysitter to come over so that we can go OUT. Today I will stay home because I want to enjoy the freedom that comes with the summer season. Today I will stay home so we can go to the pool in August. I’ll stay home today, because I am tired of the daily Embassy emails tallying number of COVID cases and dead. I’ll stay home today, because I selfishly want to enjoy time at home again. I’ll stay home because someone out there doesn’t have the option. I won’t go to the mall today, because JCrew makes my favorite “Emma colored” shorts and I don’t know how I’ll bear it if more stores like them go bankrupt. I will braid my hair at home today, because I haven’t gotten a cut in a year, and I need one, bad. I’ll stay home now, because our kids’ doctors checkups are due, but if we cross the border to visit the doctor’s office in Germany, we have to quarantine for 14 days, with visits from the Polish Policja to make sure we’re abiding, upon return home. I do not want to deal. I’ll stay home and enjoy our view of the neighborhood for as many days as I must, because you know you’ve been doing this too long when you’re so acquainted with the neighborhood cats that you look up from doing dishes and exclaim to your family “hey guys! a new neighborhood kitty! this one is black and brown with white paws!” I will continue to endure this, because I reeeeeeally need the furniture company to send someone to look at the incomplete finish on our brand new dining room table. I won’t bring my kids to the playground today, because it makes me so sad to tell them it is still closed. I will keep truckin’ at home, because we have been focusing on learning one letter per week since the beginning, and heaven help me if we make it to Z. I’ll stay home today because my heart feels so heavy every time I walk by the guest room, not knowing if we’ll be able to host guests. And every time my kids do something funny, or cute, I hate feeling sad because grandma and grandpa might miss this whole entire stage in my kid’s lives. I’ll stay home and endure the unknown, because I am exhausted with not knowing. I’ll stay home and let my kid deliver me the umpteenth cup of “coffee” because I could really go for a flat white at an outdoor cafe (the one with a playground). Today I will stay home, I will go for a walk, I will breathe fresh air, and I will persevere, because I never want to have to stay home again.
It looks like this isn’t going to be over until its over. I haven’t been grounded in about 22 years. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. I want out. There are a lot of people out there who are sick, who have been sick, who are going to be sick, or who have died because of this. I’m sad for them. I’m sad for their families. My heart aches for the healthcare workers who are enduring this lopsided mess. Some holding the front line in intense COVID units, and others with cancelled shifts at empty hospitals. I’m sad for me. I’m sad for all of us. But I won’t let sadness, and certainly not fear, be my driver. I’ll hold on to hope, add this to the list of life’s ridiculous adventures, focus on being content in the day to day moments, and keep an eye on all the prizes listed above. Do it for them, but also do it for you.