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I am Eric’s Wife. I am also mother to two teenagers on the very cusp of adulthood, the founding director of Scripture from the Heart, an avid world watcher, bold and insecure at once. I serve a merciful God and I love a guy who makes my knees weak. This is where I write about it all.  Thank you for reading!

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The Corona Diaries

May 20, 2020

It’s not that I am cracking. I am well aware that other people are having their whole worlds turned upside down while I am over here with a world merely shaken. But, this is my blog and these are my feels. <Law and Order gong goes here>

The week before my family casually started quarantine, a family member had very generously and providentially sent me a grocery store gift card. On a hunch, I took it to the store and double/triple stocked up on everything. The sweet little clerks at the HEB laughed at my “end of the world” looking stock pile. Oh, how we laughed. So young we were back then; bare faced and care free.

Week one of my family’s quarantine began March 12. We had considered a quick trip for Spring Break, but decided to go ahead and take advantage of the cleared schedule to stay home. You know, do our part and flatten the curve.

By the next week, Eric’s office had closed down, sending all to work from home and eat the groceries in their home. I was in great shape. The kids’ school had extended Spring Break and I was going to take advantage of this small window to clean out the closets and dust the tops of all the spices in my spice cabinet. It. Was. Glorious. Just the rest and reset I needed.

In the third week, the school’s started back up again on the internet. It seemed easy. Almost too easy.

Week four was like the great numbing. Things were not normal, but it had gone on long enough to be habit. Eric stays home. Kids stay home. I stay home. We do not need groceries. We do not go to church. We. Stay. Home.

It was in the fifth week when we finally ran out of milk and sandwich bread. Not being aware of how the world had fully changed in five weeks, I naively headed out the door to my HEB. I had seen the news, but you just don’t know until you know, you know?

There’s a line to get in. People seem a little in a shocked haze. I did not yet own a mask and it was still considered a “no” from the Surgeon General. The man in line behind me held his gloved hand up to his ski masked chin and excitedly educated me about how asymptomatic people can carry the virus and that he was doing me the favor. His anxiety at having to be in a space with my unmasked face made me decide I should get a mask to make people feel better.

I get in to the store and am immediately jarred at the very low volume of shoppers, followed by the empty aisles of pasta, toilet paper, and bread. My list consisted only of milk, bread and toilet paper.

Checking out was another rattling experience. I hate to make problems for people and I sincerely try to follow rules. Those early days of shopping saw me getting “Ma’am”ed in not so nice tones many times. “Ma’am, please step on the sticker there and don’t stand anywhere else.” “Ma’am, please follow the arrows on the aisles.” “Ma’am, that’s not social distancing.” I went from an A+ student in socializing to a D- student in the new normal. It was a blow to my psyche.

When I got home from the store I told Eric, “You have no idea, Babe. It’s like a whole different world. In a month.”

The weeks melted into months, difference between days marked only by our Sunday morning church services, hosted by my Dad with three phones to connect 6 different households and five generations. I think being quarantined on the same property as my parents and having regular face time with them went a long way towards maintaining my sense of normal in my little bubble.

April did not fly by, but it did lumber by unnoticed as any different than January.

When the calendar turned to May, I was starting to do that thing Moms should never do and was taking mental notes of how I was doing all the things while my whole family just lounged around, blissfully unaware of the quiet, humble Cinderella who served them so stoically. It is no good for anybody when Moms do this, but it’s a common ditch for me to hit on blind curves.

(Eric was working his stressful tech job and the kids were doing schoolwork and swallowing whole the trauma of their entry to adulthood being set ablaze. I know they are not two dimensional characters in real life, but, again, my blog and my feels.)

One Saturday afternoon, I think it was a Saturday, it may have been a Tuesday, I hit my limit of being able to keep a lid on my inner self’s churning stew of selfishness, self righteousness, false piety, and narrow social grace. Not wanting to spew all over my little family as they lounged, I told them what I am sure many of you have said, “I’m going to Wal-Mart.”

In the Wal-Mart parking lot, I took a moment. I scrolled some social media pages on my phone, got mad at people for feeling differently than I do and just as strongly, and then deleted my social media for a pause. That felt a little better. I had been sitting there for almost an hour when I saw a man whose posture and how he carried himself reminded me of my Dad. I watched as he unloaded 8 big bottles of car oil into the back of his truck, being very careful to make them secure. Then, I watched as this man, who I was sure had all the moral fiber and character of my Dad, take his cart and push it into an empty parking spot.

Did he just do that? What kind of…? My Dad would never…!!! Someone should doooo something!!! He cannot get away with this!!

Before I could really think through what I had witnessed and what my responsibility was, I honked my horn at him. Suddenly, he was coming my way and we were going to have a chat. Oh no!!! What did I just do!!?? WHY AM I LIKE THIS!? What should I say!!??

“Were you trying to get my attention?” His face is not at all angry, just confused about why he’s being summoned by the frazzled blonde Mom in her SUV.

“I’m sorry. Um, uh. See, I am in a horrible mood and I saw you leave your cart out and I decided to take my bad mood out on you. That’s not fair to you. I’m really sorry about that.”

Still confused, but thankfully, not angry, he returns to his truck and leaves. I sit there for another moment, watch as the store clerk scurries to clear the cart, and decide I should just go home. No need taking my horn honking mood into a more public place than this parking lot.

We are now creeping up on the end of May and summer looms as three nearly empty months on the calendar. My posture is more resigned and I have gotten very skilled at grocery shopping with no need to be “Ma’am”ed into order. I have gotten good at hosting Zoom meetings, keeping social media to a minimum, and have tried to be still and look for God’s hand.

I don’t know how everybody else is holding up. I think that I am living in the best possible scenario a person could hope for in this situation and it is, still, just so ceaselessly exhausting. This is not a vacation. There is a happy electricity to the air when it’s vacation. The electricity in the air now is anxious, biting, and just so beige.

There’s no great conclusion to this blog post because this story is not over. I wanted to write this post to, hopefully, document the point in all of this when I decided to stop coasting on autopilot and live this quarantine life with intention and joy. I hope you all are well. I pray for all of you, I pray for Christ’s Bride, and I pray for me. This world needs less honking and more grace offering. If I have to land in a ditch, I pray it is grace.

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