There are very few good things that came from the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19.
Being isolated at home, life became simpler. We learned to reduce the complexity in our lives because school was cancelled, our jobs were cancelled or we moved our work to home. For those of us able to continue to work instead of being frustrated with the minor hassles & frustrations, we had more gratitude for that job and paycheck. Many of our families and friends were furloughed, desperately tried to phone the unemployment office, risked our health on the front lines or were out of work. We enjoyed simple games of Uno, Jenga, Rummy, basketball in the street, catch, biking and walking to neighbor’s house to meet their new puppy on the front lawn (six feet between humans, of course). We made sunbursts, hop scotch, turtles, elephants in rainbow chalk colors on our sidewalks. The two young brothers across from my house read the numbers, letters and sight words on their driveway.
We got creative. One child built a four-blanket tent under his loft bed with soft strip lights above his head. His green nightlight sits on one of his board game boxes that make the walls of the fort. For the first time ever, he slept in his own room inside his four blanket fort five nights in a row! Three girls had a tea party together each in their own homes, chatting and laughing with one another over Zoom.
We got clean. Cupboards, walls, drawers, closets, garages, windows got cleaned out and organized. Moms taught their sons and daughter how to clean baseboards after learning what a baseboard is. Glass portions of light fixtures were taken down to be washed in water and vinegar. Of course, with everyone home we cleaned often.
We baked, we cooked and we reached out. Two brothers make Kraft macaroni & cheese and cut hot dogs, green beans (“Mom said we needed a vegetable!”) and brownies with sprinkles for their delighted parents. One woman picked up and delivered a friend’s prescriptions because her friend has fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease, and does not have a car. Strawberries, bananas, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli were dropped off to a 2-year old whose father asked for food on helpkalamazoo.com.
We got humbled by the fragility of life. The priorities of our life are distilled down to staying connected with each other and virtually holding each other close.
Sheryl Lozowski-Sullivan, MPH, PhD.
Printed in the Good News paper, May 2020