Cloistered from Covid19

The first week of lockdown was (almost) fun. While Mr. Wonderful worked from home and I was free from obligations, it felt like a chance to step back and recharge. I started reading The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. I was sure I would use this two week lockdown to nourish my intellect, strengthen my physique with online yoga, and settle my faith.

I listened (by proximity rather than choice) to meetings about film and polypropylene and resins and recycling and customers and engineers and business cases.  I had video chats with friends from long ago,  nearly daily FaceTime with the kids/grandkids or sisters and mother. I cleaned the top of my cabinets, scrubbed my floors by hand, and posted non-stop on Facebook and Instagram.

The second week, I continued to read about the ‘rona and follow the directions of the Prime Minister, worried about my cough, grew exasperated when my husband said I needed to cut Facetime short because the WIFI for his WebEX meeting was breaking up. I defrosted my freezer and cleaned my oven. I waited for 6 pm, or 7 when work was finished for my great provider. I video messaged my gal pals, got excited when it was my turn to go to the store, prayed for my 3 friends who had positive tests for Covid19, and wondered if my non-stop headache and little cough could be from exposure at the dinner party at my sick friends’ house. I was interviewed for a podcast at our church. I was still reading The Goldfinch.

The third week, normal schedule resumed, though it was virtual. I was grateful for online church, Zoom Bible study and small group, Messenger chats with my friends. I celebrated a friend’s birthday with a group crémant toast on Zoom. I grew tired of trying to schedule running the vacuum around my husband’s meetings, hearing conversations about production runs and business cases and intellectual property. Our Zoom happy hour with longtime friends was a pleasure, and family Zoom meetin’ time with our kids a lifeline and a blessing. We signed up to help with grocery shopping and delivery with church, since we’d already been helping our elderly downstairs neighbors and our positive Covid19 friends. The Goldfinch dragged on and I grew so tired of the stupid mistakes the main character made, while continuing to love the character Hobie. I found out someone I love in the US had passed away and I can’t be there, to honor his life or the commitment of my sister, who loved him more.

Week four–ugh! In all honesty, I’m a bit pissed off at this stupid tiny virus that wreaks havoc in the life of the WORLD!

It’s so exciting when Mr. Wonderful takes his turn to grocery shop so I’m actually ALONE for a short time. On the other hand, as he passes for a snack between meetings and phone conversations, I annoy him with my, “honey, are you glad to be locked down with me?” and “will you still love me when they let us out?” queries. Yet, as my dear husband plays the guitar and sings in his beautiful tenor, I hum along in my serviceable alto. He puts his telescope on the patio and takes beautiful photos of the moon and the stars and galaxies and globular clusters. We’ve been married for 36 years…I’m sure we’ll stand strong in this and through this. And I finished The Goldfinch–FINALLY.

The amount of coffee we’re drinking is staggering, as is the amount of wine (not really–okay REALLY).  As my dear husband finishes a meeting and grabs for a snack, I cringe, dreading the sound of the pistachios and their shells in the little glass bowl–I’m just sure we have a rodent in a cage somewhere in the house. The amount of laundry is much less than usual, as my husband has his nice shirt only for video meetings, and I hang out in a tank and yoga pants. I cook, and cook, and cook some more. I might actually get good at it.

We head to the terrace every night at 8 to join the clapping and cheering for our healthcare workers. And every night, it brings a tear to my eye. We’re grateful for our health. We’re more than grateful for technology. I’m incredibly thankful for social media (well, some of it) and the diversion it provides, and the laughter at silly memes, and the feeling that we’re not alone.

I’m appreciative of those dear people who work in the grocery store, still smiling, despite enforcing the social distancing regulations. I’m grateful for full shelves in the grocery–for coffee and wine and chocolate and toilet paper, and beautiful fruit and vegetables. I’m thankful for the Post deliveries, and the Amazon deliveries. I’m grateful my little Chinese restaurant is open for takeaway once every couple weeks, and we’ve found some good pizza to grab. I’m grounded by my faith.

As this changed life continues, we pray for those directly affected by the disease, for jobs lost because of the lockdown, for milestones celebrated differently, for relationships and love and the joy of living. We look forward to a time of loosening of restriction. We pray for healing.

The Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you.

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My Sunshine

We missed it.

My amateur astronomer, brilliant scientist husband would have been over the moon to see the eclipse that was a bigger news flash in the U.S.  yesterday than Donald Trump’s latest social media post. Our kids messaged us at various stages of the path of the moon, in various stages of excitement and anticipation. My fluency in “nag” kicked in, as I reminded my adult children to beware the dangers of looking straight at the sun, to which my offspring replied, in less than stellar fashion, “Don’t worry, Mom. We used protection.” Even today, as my daughter posted her views of the eclipse on Facebook, tagging her dad and asking him to chime in, that celestial alignment drew us closer, despite the ocean between us, the miles between us, the years and differing stages of life between us.

We’ve missed a lot. We’ve missed the funeral of a beloved cousin, a beloved aunt. We’ve missed the funerals of some very old, dear friends. We’ve missed the celebrations of retirements and graduations. The opportunities that slipped through my fingers…spending more time with my grandson, shopping with my daughter and daughter-in-law as we sip Starbucks and solve the social ills of the world, cooking with one son who recently loves my recipes, listening (in the same room) to a son who composes, watching a son who passionately builds retro projects…loving them all, up close.

Here’s what we’ve gained: the undeniable knowledge that our kids are great adults, smart and kind, deep thinkers about the hard things in life, appreciative of the pleasures and challenges of living and loving. Even if they weren’t my flesh, I would want to be friends with them (though I’d give them a good warning before I dropped by so they could clean up first!). We’ve gained the world–friends from EVERYwhere, travel here and there, and a sprinkling of a new language.  It doesn’t take the planets aligning, or whatever an eclipse is (sorry, honey!), for us to realize the opportunity we have here in Luxembourg is astronomical. The distance, the time, the heavenly occurrence…can’t take my sunshine away.

Music performed by my very sweet daughter!