One week ago to the day, the entire state of Illinois moved into Phase Four of the Restore Illinois COVID-19 Reopening Plan. Other states started rolling back quarantine restrictions too—cases of COVID-19 rose. However Illinois is actually one of the states where COVID-19 cases have not gone up.

And yesterday the park by our house officially opened back up. Crews took down the swings and my daughter was able to play on the equipment again. I’m sure it felt like walking a tightrope because for all these months as we’ve walked past the park she’s been directed away and that was really hard in the beginning of quarantine.

But here’s the thing: I’m still not feeling 100% comfortable to do everything like we did before. Hell, I organized a Girls Night Out for my Facebook mom group (Tinley Park Moms) and not only did I chicken out, so did every mom who RSVP’d. The Girls Night In idea is looking up. We had our first one last month on June 20th using Zoom. With Facebook’s new Rooms feature extended to groups, we now have another option for video chats that doesn’t take us too far away from our Facebook group.

I posted this in our group so that moms could see their options.

I absolutely love the mom who made the post that got everyone excited about doing a Girls Night Out, I think we’re actually becoming friends by the way. She tapped into something we are all feeling. We are starved of physical social congregation, but there’s also a fear of inciting the spread of coronavirus.

Before The Dust Settles

I’ve been getting nostalgic these past couple of weeks. I actually had a hankering for my baka’s cheese pita. Baka is Serbian for grandma and cheese pita is like a savory cheese strudel (that’s the closest comparison I can make). I would’ve made it myself but I am super rusty on how to make it, but my husband and I have been feeling burnt out most days taking care of our daughter, our dog, our house, and doing our client work. Life has become a sickcom (I’m trademarking that word by the way); like a sitcom only more headaches for the parents. This is especially true when you have a very young child. Terrible twos all day, EVER-Y-DAY. ‬

Anyway, I decided to reach out to a new business called Mama Pita Homebaker, a homebased business here in Tinley Park. I feel terrible that I haven’t written a review post yet, but I really want to make it as perfect as possible to do it justice. Claudia (who is Mama Pita Homebaker)’s cheese pita tasted 99.99% like my baka’s.

https://www.facebook.com/mamapitahomebaker/
https://www.instagram.com/mamapita_homebaker/

Food is a powerful thing, it can bring you to tears and transport you back in time with one bite. The cheese pita Claudia made brought me a comfort akin to the spirit of my baka hugging me for a brief moment. As the grown up who is protecting a young one, I sometimes wish all my grandparents could be with us during this. They went through world wars and all these major events in the 20th century, if anyone knows how to get through this time it’s our grandparents.

Shattered Dreams

Not all businesses have been so lucky like Claudia’s though. When there were the riots happening in Chicago and other cities around the world, some businesses were the victim of looting and major damage (we’re talking businesses being set on fire level damage). Imagine losing something you’ve worked really hard at like that… It’s like losing an extension of yourself. And some of the businesses in Chicago that got hit were those started by immigrant families, generations ago.

“A lot of people have talked about being ruined by success. But let’s face it, more people have been butchered by failure.”

Peter O’Toole

I’m sure people living downtown or close to it worried that there was a chance for a second Chicago Fire, but there’s a reason that there was chaos… Among the many human caused problems that have yet to be resolved, systemic racism is the one that came to the fore during this quarantine.

Sidenote:

Seeing headlines like “America’s Uniquely Humiliating Moment” make you feel embarrassed as an American, but I try to remind myself that no matter what other countries say and think about America, collectively we the world are imperfect. Every country has injustices and flaws that we’re just not hearing about. Some of us have a lot of atoning and fixing to do; others less so; and some not at all (kids, babies, people who are like Pollyannas, do you know what I mean?).

But what’s really heartbreaking to me are the shattered dreams. The American dream of businesses, people’s career dreams, people’s dreams for their family, people’s dreams for their future. Dreams being shattered has been going on before the protests, before the riots, before COVID-19…dreams being shattered because of race, religion, culture, appearance, style, personal expression, you name it. But from my understanding of history—the longer you put off making things right, you get a powder keg souffle. That’s why it is so important to put your money where your mouth is (a.k.a support businesses owned by people of color for example), or walk the talk (so many examples come to mind, but basically do what you say you believe in to the extent that you can). Governments are usually not efficient and not all governments are justly run, so it’s up to people on the ground (a.k.a. you and I) to do our little parts, because that’s what really creates a sea change for the better.

We’re half way into 2020 and I’d like to believe that by the end of the year that the grown ups of the world who need to learn this lesson do, and that is that touching the lives of others through kindness is what matters most, it’s what we all need to thrive, but we all have to practice it for it to actually change society for everyone and everyhing. And for the rest of us, I hope we learn to have courage even when it feels like the sky is falling.


Phase 4

Phase Four includes plans to allow certain businesses to reopen and resume regular operations, albeit at a reduced capacity and with social distancing guidelines in place (wearing face coverings, etc.). Schools are also allowed to resume for in-person classroom instruction in the fall.

Industry-specific guides are available at the following links:

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website has general Phase Four guidelines for reopening and the Village of Tinley Park’s dedicated COVID-19 page also has guidelines for Tinley Park businesses too.

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