Isolation: Days 6-9

Apparently there’s a limit to how many nights in a row I can stay up late writing blog posts, even with the opportunity to sleep in every day. (That limit seems to have been five.) But now I’ve had a few decent nights of sleep and I’m back for more.

By the end of last week I was feeling pretty burnt out. There had been too much stress, too much noise, too much uncertainty, too little time to myself, and way, way too little laundry accomplished. So I asked Brennan (who’s normally tied up on the weekends with home improvement projects) if he’d mind the kids on Saturday so I could get caught up on things upstairs.

God bless the man, he took charge of the kids all weekend, which gave me the opportunity to bring our second floor from “unmitigated disaster” status all the way up to “needs attention.”

Let me tell you, it feels pretty darned great to be able to stand comfortably in front of my dresser, open its drawers without anything getting in the way, and pull out neatly folded clothing. I can even see the top of the thing! Amazing.

I got through several loads of laundry, that overgrown dresser, and a couple of beds that sorely needed changing. Brennan cooked a bunch of delicious meals, winning him heaps of praise from overexcited children (“I don’t like this food Daddy, I LOVE IT.”) They liked his cooking so much, they drew a picture of a trophy, cut it out, and taped it to the wall. (Have these children ever awarded their mother a trophy for her cooking? No, they have not.)

As far as I’m concerned, Daddy’s just won himself the honor of cooking dinner every night.

Sunday morning the seven of us cuddled up on the sofa to watch our pastor’s Mass on Facebook Live. It was a little hard to hear, but pretty wonderful to see that familiar place and a few familiar faces. I was kind of emotional about it.

That evening I needed a break from home, so I took a solitary walk through town. It was cool and empty and sad. Shops were closed, restaurants were either closed or converted to carryout, and I saw a grand total of two individuals outside their vehicles. We stayed away from each other.

Before long I ended up at my aunt’s house, where she and my cousin and I caught up a bit, standing at safe distances in the front yard.

I am a social person. As much as I love a little alone time, I get great joy from interacting with people, even the strangers I encounter out-and-about in the world.

I just love people.

And my kids love people. When my oldest was a toddler I used to race to the front door as soon as I realized we were about to get a delivery. I’d try to open the door before the deliveryman could ring the bell, because if my boy heard it ring, he’d race to the window and beg the man to stay.

But now it all feels different. Yesterday another deliveryman brought us a package and I tensed up when my three youngest kids ran outside to greet him. “Stay away!” I wanted to scream to them.

What a time we’re living in, when we grow unused to seeing any faces but those under our own roof. What a time, when we miss seeing people in stores and on sidewalks, when the friendly deliveryman makes us nervous.

This new lifestyle has required quite a mental shift to adapt to. I think it will be similarly difficult when we emerge.

(Regarding schoolwork, so far we’ve just been sort of limping along – the boys have done the bare minimum of the homework they’ve been assigned. But today we finally got a computer up and running for them and I finally finished moving some things around to create a dedicated area for schoolwork. So tomorrow! Tomorrow we’ll be more ambitious, right?)

One thought on “Isolation: Days 6-9

  1. I worry about the effects on us all when we re-emerge, too, if we’ll be even more isolated and screen-dependent. But then we will also have these good memories of my husband home for lunch every day and slow walks in the neighborhood watching spring bloom and prayer with new fervor…

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