Hi Farmgirls! Wow! What a month it’s been! How are y’all doing? We’re hanging in there. We live and work in one of the hardest-hit areas of Covid-19, but are happy to report we are all healthy!
Still, I’m not going to sugar-coat things. Our schools were some of the first in the nation to close, the first week of March. Our entire town locked-down pretty quickly. Connecticut has many cases of Covid-19, and my husband works in Manhattan. Thankfully, his employers saw ahead of things, and he was working from home long before New York became a hot spot.
Still, it all seemed “surreal”, like the whole world fell off a cliff. Days at first seemed like the movie “Groundhog Day”.
One morning, shortly after the complete halt of life as we knew it, I walked past where my husband was sitting at the computer. I was still in jammies and my big, ugly red bathrobe, wearing no makeup and my hair wild- looking a lot like Beetlejuice. I suddenly realized that he was in an online meeting with his co-workers. SO EMBARRASSING!
I decided to pick myself up by my proverbial Farmgirl boots, put on my lipstick, and tie on my apron! Hang in there, Farmgirls! We’ve got this!
Though I grew up in Texas, I’ve lived most of my life on the East Coast. Three times now, I’ve experienced some of the darkest, scariest things that have happened to our country, right in my “backyard”. When my husband and I were younger, we’d often drive into “The City” on days off. We couldn’t afford dinners out, but found the lunch specials were reasonable in many popular NYC eateries. We became lunch “regulars” at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the original World Trade Center. We’d go on the same day, a couple times a month, having the same server. We lunched there just days before 9/11, with two of my school friends from Texas visiting.
I’ll never forget those days after 9/11- everyone, everywhere, came together. Eleven years later, the unthinkable then happened in our town of Sandy Hook. Again, the world came together, trying to comfort our little hamlet.
Now there’s Covid-19, and we find ourselves surrounded by some of the hardest hit areas in the nation. Again, I think of Mr. Rogers, saying, “Look for the helpers”. Here is what I do know: we will get through this. It’s true, we’re in this together. Things will be forever different, and we will again have normal, but a “new normal”.
Of course, there are fears and worries with this current situation. My heart breaks for all the doctors, nurses and other responders and their families. It’s difficult to see the death toll each day, knowing someone’s lost the battle. I worry about my far-away loved ones, many of them older; I worry about financial issues the world will face. I worry we will get sick.
However, I try not to dwell and worry all day. It isn’t easy to do – my daughter affectionately refers to me as “Worst-Case-Scenario-Mom”, and for forever my mom has told me, “The worst things you can imagine that could happen, probably never will. Don’t worry so much.” Decades ago, I saw a decorative sign, paraphrasing a quote by Aristotle: “Choose Happiness, When Happiness is a Choice”. As my daddy always says when talking about something sad or out of our control, “It is what it is.” I think it’s important to find some happiness every day. I can’t control what’s going on, but staying hopeful is half the battle.
One positive to come out of this situation is we’ve all slowed down.
It’s required in Connecticut everyone now wear a mask in public, like when going to the grocery store. I’ve left the house twice in six+ weeks, only when essential. Going out in public feels nerve-wracking, like being a lobster in boiling water.
When we picked up medicine at our vet for our pet with a chronic condition, I noticed, driving home, many people sitting on their front porches. It reminded me of the by-gone era where once everyone did that. I think my generation was the last to witness “porch sitting” as commonplace. It’s nice to see townsfolk waving to passers-by, especially during social distancing.
We need more empathy, too. “Distance Learning” can be horrific for teachers, parents, and kids. My daughter and her high school friends are finding their senior classes more difficult to handle than in the physical classroom, and kids are all missing their friends (we miss ours, too).
There’s a shared post going around Facebook, how the Senior Class of 2020 should not be so disappointed, but remember kids in the ‘60s had to go to Vietnam. My stepfather is a Vietnam Veteran, and I have the utmost respect for all who have served! However, there’s always someone, somewhere, who is going through or has experienced a worse situation. Even so, we shouldn’t diminish others’ disappointment or minimize their feelings. Empathy is a blessing. My daughter and her classmates are young, and have missed out on prom, seeing friends their last year together, the class trip, and may miss graduation, in the traditional sense. Our families are far away, and we’ll miss having them fly in for our daughter’s big day. In the big scheme of things, these are not earth-shattering events, but high school is hard enough, especially nowadays! Add to that the disappointment of missing out on yet more milestones and rites of childhood, while also having to worry about family, friends and teachers being affected by an enemy none of us can see. My heart goes out to the Class of 2020, and I’m so proud of my daughter for taking these things in stride and with such grace.
Everyone reacts to stress and worry differently. Some right now are overworked, overtired, and many are putting their lives on the line to help others.
Some of us are stuck in a suspended “Twilight Zone” sense of time- doing our part by staying home, finding ways to pass the time and handle the worry.
For me, I like to “nest”. I finally got around to painting my kitchen (it’s been 20 years since we last painted). I long ago chose a happy, vintage-turquoise blue. It’s nice to see it finally on the walls! It turned out so well, I used the rest of the paint for the laundry room.
Keeping my hands busy keeps nerves at bay. I’ve been knitting and crafting, making do or repurposing what’s on hand.
I’m organizing and cleaning. A friend of mine got a stomach ache from a cinnamon roll her teen made, with cinnamon long past the expiration date. Inspired, I cleaned out our spice cabinet, something I’d done not too long ago. I still found a spice jar expired in 1998! Yikes!
I started seeds indoors, with what seeds I had on hand. The garden will get planted, and I am hoping for extra to share. As Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.
I celebrated my birthday. Though low-key, it was happy, with a sunny day, a long walk, and a cake made by my husband and daughter. They also made dinner and sat with me to watch my favorite movie, The Sound of Music, for the nine-thousandth time, with no hint of complaint. It’s the little things that really count!
Our family is relishing sitting to dinner together every night, something we don’t usually get to do more than twice a week. (If you have “littles”, enjoy every minute, even though it’s hard to balance it all. It goes so fast, and we can’t get time back).
The week before Easter, I was happy to share eggs with neighbors (social distancing, of course). We also dyed some and made deviled eggs, keeping with our family traditions in whatever way we could. I think it’s more important than ever to make things special when we can.
My family is more introverted than most would guess, homebodies enjoying being together. We aren’t thinking of being stuck at home as a punishment, but as a gift. We’re doing things we always say we’d like to do, but never have time for. The”Honey-Do” list is getting completed. We’ve binged-watched almost every episode of “American Pickers”, and each evening we’re now watching a Marvel movie, in chronological order. Life currently is slower, but still busy, just in a different way.
My hopes for when the “new normal” does happen are simple: I hope we emerge, a people stronger in spirit than before. I hope the world stays more united than before. I hope we keep deep appreciation for health care workers, farmers, truck drivers, retail workers, and postal and delivery workers. I hope we don’t easily forget what we’re going through, emerging smarter, healthier…with more empathy, stronger faith; having learned to make more time for what truly is important.
Hang in there, Farmgirls! My heart’s with you. Let me know how you are – leave me a comment below.
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs (virtually, and over six feet plus apart while wearing a mask), Nicole