Seeing the Silver Lining
Let me start by saying that we are all concerned for our healthcare system, the doctors and nurses on the front lines, the immunocompromised and elderly people. As a family, we are worried about this disease’s reach, our community, the seriousness of the quarantines, the isolation, the economic impact, and the depletion of the goods on the shelves.
However, on a personal level, this affects each of us so drastically day to day, that it’s impossible to not have your own feelings about the changes in your daily life. So that is what I’m addressing, not the disease itself.
This is about the silver lining in a terrible situation.
My husband been asked to work from home indefinitely, and our children’s school is closed until further notice.
We stood in the kitchen on Thursday night, after we received the notice from the school… I looked stressed and upset. My husband was grinning ear to ear.
My husband works hard. I stay at home with the kids and he selflessly provides for us. He leaves for work most days by 7:30AM. That means he usually only gets to see whatever 2 of our 3 children are awake at that point.
Then he charges through his day with such speed that he often skips lunch or races back and forth between his NYC office and his home office, putting miles on his body, an exhaustion that leaves him depleted.
On a good day, he leaves the office by 6:30, and gets home right before the older children get into bed. He’ll get to read them a story or discuss their days for a minute, but it’s brief. He misses the baby’s early bedtime every night.
And on bad days, he doesn’t even see me because I’m already asleep.
When he was standing there on Thursday night, smiling, I asked him what he was so happy about.
His answer was so simple. To the self-confessed workaholic, this situation means time together. It’s time he doesn’t have to spend commuting. He still has to work, but he will have hours of his life back that he can now spend with our family.
And our weekends won’t be spent running 10 different directions because every activity has been cancelled.
The kids will be around on his lunch break and the mornings.
He’ll actually get to see the baby before I put him down.
Oh they’ll drive you bananas, I thought to myself as he articulated his excitement over spending time with the kids.
Then, this weekend, I saw him eagerly embrace the situation.
He pulled out a local hiking guide on Friday morning and told them they would hike every single trail in the book. He made a list in the meticulous way he does these types of things, and they began. Friday, Saturday, Sunday… three hikes checked off.
“I’ll have time to throw the football with my kids,” he told me. And into the backyard they all went. He even brought the baby who wandered happily around while they threw the football back and forth.
No activities, birthday parties, or schedules means plenty of free time.
“I’ll try this new recipe,” he said, popping by the market to get tomatoes and ginger, things I didn’t have in the pantry.
He showered the kids at night and came downstairs to cuddle on the couch with me. “Let’s try to watch all the movies that were up for Oscars,” he suggested.
He is determined to make the most of every moment.
I’ve always felt we complemented each other well. He’s always been the carefree, happy-go-lucky soul while I’ve been the more down-to-earth worrier.
In this situation, he’s a breath of fresh air.
I’m lucky enough to have him, but if you don’t, you could be him. You could look for the good, because it’s definitely there, and it’s really not that hard to find.
Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash