author moments, awareness, family

Taken

Sometimes things get taken away from kids, teenagers, and sometimes adults. Maybe for punishment. Maybe for a break of sorts. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to hit pause on items or things or maybe people.

In the past seven days I lost communication with somebody very close to me. The first thing taken was the Snapchat streak. It might not seem important to some but the duration signifies a time period of connectedness. Random to some but important to us.

The next thing that seemed to slip away was the sight of a smile. The connection of where our eyes met each day. The partnership. The little nuances only we know. The physical connection whether in person or virtual.

The backup plan was taken. We watched each other’s pets when each other had conflicts. We covered car pools. We shared burdens. We backed each other up. When one of our dogs would run off the other’s phone number was on the pet tag. Only I lost my ability to call. I lost my backup.

Breakfast visits. Laundry pit stops. What’s in the fridge visits. I just stopped by to say hi.  I just decided to drop by with coffee. Want to meet at the game? All taken. Gone. Vanished. Obsolete. A new lonely sets in your heart. 

Sometimes we take advantage or complain about what’s in front of us and don’t really appreciate it until it is no longer there.

Take note today. Breathe deeply. See what’s around you. Be aware of your good friends. Support those who support you. Be present.

You never want to feel the empty I felt this week as I adjusted to my new normal.

The military can be a great option for some and it can be lonely road for others. Today my family falls into the lonely road category. Timeframe is unknown but the missing time has already begun. Of all things taken I miss time the most.

Time together

Time to chat 

Time to laugh 

Time for us 

Time to be free

Time creates memories. Time is captured in pictures. Time is so very valuable. Time really can’t be replaced. Time away triggers feelings for many around us. Time belongs to the military when you enlist until your time commitment has ended. And for some time can be extended if certain instances such as a time of war or other conflict. As a civilian I never really understood military time as it didn’t apply to me directly.

As I wrap up my day, I still feel lonely. A week of time has passed, but I’m not better. I may even be bitter. I want what was taken but I can’t have what I want. Not now. Not in the near future. Patience is what I am practicing today, tomorrow and beyond. Shifting from civilian to soldier is taxing for not only the soldier but also their loved ones.

Gas prices might be soaring. There may even be conflict overseas. The price of groceries are high. Supply and demand issues  lurk as well. For me my conflict is here with me. Front and center. A daily battle. Just a mom missing what was taken; her son.

challenges

Distant. Detached. Depressed.

Corona has already taught us a lot.  A lot about ourselves.  A lot about each other. A lot about how our society is set up. And maybe a lot about how lucky we’ve been.

I have realized how often I come into contact with SO MANY people!  I never really thought about how interconnected we all are.  From the gym where I share equipment with dozens of members, to my job in a library circulating books from hundreds of households most days, to going through the door of the grocery store, grabbing a cart without a thought for wiping the push handle, etc.  In light of the corona crisis and my newfound hyperawareness of germs, surfaces, and more, I think sometimes it’s a miracle I am still alive and healthy!

(Confession: I have been moved for years by the scientific revelation that the Amish have fewer allergies in their population likely because they are exposed to dust and allergens early and systematically.  I always used this as a back pocket justification for my disheveled, dusty house.  Ok, I know it’s a stretch, but I am not a fan of cleaning!  Still, at times I have thought that we oversanitize our lives to our detriment.  Covid has me rethinking that approach at the moment, with my bucket of bleach solution in hand, replacing that back pocket argument with a mini hand sanitizer.)

From the beginning of the corona crisis, I have seen the war metaphor as useful.  I generally don’t like it when we talk about everyday things using war phrases.  For example, I cringe when we talk about educators who are “in the trenches” or the need to “bite the bullet.”  But in my mind, corona is a war.  We all are fighting it. And there are people, heroes, on the frontline.

We can see a similarity between now and wartime as well, knowing that in our history, times of war often bring about the greatest lasting transformation.  Huge leaps forward in creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and efficiency happen in wartime.  Problems take on new urgency.  We already see this today in experimenting with existing medications, splitting ventilators to serve multiple patients, and more. Even small businesses like restaurants and retailers are being forced to move forward in new directions, using online ordering, repackaging their offerings to suit families, and so on.  Distilleries are retrofitting to make hand sanitizer. Gyms are delivering classes online, offering advice and help on form through videos, and so on.  It is a time of great change in more areas of life than we can count.

We are seeing how many meetings could have been emails.  We are learning why dozens of Zoom meetings are exhausting.  Also, we are seeing why sometimes physical proximity honestly can’t be replaced. Social distancing, my bet for Oxford’s Word of the Year, is everywhere on the news these days. I get it.  It matters, and apparently it works.  But, I can’t be the only one who is tired of that term, even confused by it. Really, it should be called physical distancing.  Basically keeping bodies (and germs) as far away from each other as we can.  We still need to connect socially in meaningful ways.  A recent podcast about loneliness and its’ many consequences only reinforces this. 

I realized early on in this crisis, people are what we look forward to.  People are what we cherish.  Our daily connections matter. It’s easy to slip into lonely.  Distant. Detached, even depressed. Social connection is more important than ever.  And in some ways connecting is as easy as it has ever been.  Technology affords us so many possibilities, but weeks later I realize it only goes so far. Check on people. Make plans to see your people safely, even if it is hanging out car windows with a cup of coffee.

I try to stay optimistic as much as I can.  This time is fuel that will push societies and communities in new directions.  Things will be lost along the way, including, I fear, many local “mom-and-pop” businesses that give our communities their unique character.  Adapt and Overcome, another military motto, comes to mind here.  Those who can’t adapt may have a hard time making it, especially if this haul turns out to be a long one.  Support the local businesses you want to see make it to the other side of this war. Their survival may depend on your dollars!

As it is with post-war eras, things will also be gained.  Technologies we can’t even imagine yet will become commonplace.  We will have new and meaningful ways to connect. If we focus on nourishing and sustaining what matters, it has a better chance of surviving, and so do we.  We will adapt and we will overcome.