Picture this: Mid October…2019. Fall. Sweater seasons. Chai and pumpkin spice everything…It’s time to kick off THE season you wait for all year long. “The Holidays.”
It all started with Halloween and the pumpkin patches. You planned your yearly outing with all your people. You took the kids to the slides and the hay rides and all the crazy feed tubs filled with corn kernels. You make the chili and do the trick-or-treating and the trunk-or-treating and the family costume for Instagram. It’s a great time. You love spending that time with your friends and family and making memories that you’ll all have for years to come.
Then a few weeks later we’re approaching Thanksgiving. You cleaned your whole house to host your first Thanksgiving (Or maybe a Friendsgiving). You learned to make a new pie or roasted the turkey for the first time. You created a beautiful tablescape or you helped your mom and grandma make all those traditional dishes. Everyone got together and ate more food than anyone ever needed to in one sitting. No one even had room for that new pie you baked. But it was so great that you got to see your cousins. It’s been a while. And after you played some games and all the kids got to terrorize together. It was great, but it was a lot.
One day later…it’s Black Friday and the Christmas hustle begins (if you didn’t start it sooner, which let’s be honest, a lot of us did.) The tree is up, you’re making Christmas Cookies, you’re moving that damn Elf all over the house. In a span of a few weeks you’ve been to the store 15+ times. Most of your free time is being spent on Amazon searching for that one thing your child wants that you can’t find anywhere. You’ve committed to two work parties, three family parties, and several gift exchanges. Oh yeah, and it’s not even the big day yet! Repeat that holiday dinner hustle from above.
But then…This thing happen. This horrible and easily transmitted virus starts to spread across China. And then Europe. And then the United States. The strangest things are being required of us. We’re told to go home and stay there. Concerts are cancelled and hair salons have to close. Thousands upon thousands of people are laid off or can’t operate their businesses. All of our kids are at home while we work at the kitchen table, in a living room, in the corning or a playroom, anywhere but our usual desk at work. The only people who are just living life as “normal” are those who are considered “essential” to keep our world turning, and even those folks may have been laid off or fallen ill.
All the hustle and gathering and shopping from just a couple months earlier seems as if it’s in the very distant past. Everything just…stops. Life as we know it is shifts. Our priorities change. We get more creative. We’re creating crazy chalk murals in our backyards and down our driveways We’re letting our kids watch unlimited TV because #workfromhomewithkidslyfe. We’re trying to homeschool and also figure out how to get them human interaction safely. We’re looking for trails and open public spaces because we don’t want to get a $1000 fine or COVID-19 but we also don’t want to be in our houses for one.more.second. All that crazy gathering from the Holidays season…It’s just feels weird all of a sudden. That pie that no one ate doesn’t feel as important. The tablescape you pinned 203948 inspiration photos for seems like it was created 10 years ago. And all that shopping and touching literally anything in the store? It feels really, really disgusting. Why weren’t we washing our hands more?
To me COVID-19 has been a wake up call. It’s has created space in my brain to really think about what’s important to me. Is it pies or is it people? Is it the damn Elf on the Shelf or is it watching the Grinch with my daughter for the 100th time…In November. Was all that overscheduling worth it? Was the exhaustion of trying to please everyone (including myself) worth the pay out? I don’t know…But this whole thing is definitely giving me some time to evaluate that. I’m realizing that life is precious. Time together as a family is important. Human interaction is necessary. Feeling involved in the world is essential. But maybe pumpkin patch photos for the ‘gram can wait.