They say beware the ides of March, and by jove Midwestern weather delivered. Spring and summer take a while to happen here in Chicagoland, it sucks but it goes so well with the times we’re living through. Thanks a lot Mother Nature!

March 15, 2021 – Photo taken by Geoff’s uncle and godfather Richard (New Lenox, IL)

1 Year Since Lockdown Started In Illinois

We’ve reached the one year mark of being in quarantine here in Illinois (Happy Quaranniversary!), and we all just want things to get back to normal fast. It’s been like Groundhog day everyday and we parents are exhausted. Our daughter‘s birthday is next week and I was just thinking to myself, how sad it is for kids that they can’t have huge birthday gatherings right now because of COVID-19? She likely won’t remember all this when she’s older, thank goodness, but we her parents will…

The Other Pandemic

I made a note of this—on March 5, 2021 I was pushing Eileah on the swing, with Sammie on her leash watching everyone at Stonebridge Park in Homer Glen, when a mom with her three boys of different ages came up to us and looked in awe. It was both cute and funny to witness. The mother stepped in and jokingly remarked, “Sorry, we haven’t seen anyone in like a year.” We all smiled and laughed, and went about our separate playtimes. The mom was obviously joking, but it wasn’t far from the truth either. We are all going through the same thing…we are starving for normal human interaction. The mental strain this pandemic is having on us has created a silent pandemic of sorts, as a result of the castaway-like way of life we’ve all had to adopt. The stress of quarantine is even getting to our dog Sammie—her ear hair is white now, poor girl. According to Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of toy company Melissa & Joy, depression is at the highest rate its ever been in the world.

But I took comfort from something comedian Eddie Murphy recently told Drew Barrymore on her day-time talk show while promoting his new film Coming 2 America (2021):

It’s an inward search, and it’s personal, and it’s just between you and you. And the outside stuff… you have to learn to not like—I don’t even let anything that’s not constructive…I don’t let anything negative in. You have to train yourself to turn away from it. When negative stuff comes in, stuff that’s not constructive, you have to 1) turn from it 2) you’re here and then 3) you’re blessed. You’re here and you’re blessed, you’ve already won. So the negative energy, there’s no time for that. You won already.

You know what you should do every morning? You should do a victory dance. You should wake up every morning and do a Drew Barrymore victory dance. “I won!” You won mama!

Eddie Murphy on the Drew Barry More Show, March 12, 2021.

His advice to train yourself not to let things affect you is very good advice, and to be your biggest fan. We moms tend to be hard on ourselves and during this challenging time we are being put to the test. I myself am trying my best to meet the challenge.

Down Came The Ceiling

If quarantine wasn’t enough of a dramatic thing to go through, my family has also had to deal with a dramatic living arrangement disruption.

Last month I wrote, among other things, about how America saw this unprecedented winter storm that caused significant damage in several parts of the country. Well, it was so bad that the ceiling in our master bedroom caved in, water rushing in from an ice dam, and our daughter’s bedroom ceiling started to crack with leakage aswell. None of us were hurt, but it felt very scary not knowing what would happen next. We worried that there was something wrong with the roof, but it didn’t make sense since our townhome association had had our roofs redone this past summer. Then we started to think that the association had hired a bad company. I felt helpless, not having gone through anything like this before. So grateful that my in-laws live so close, they came over that night and helped us. We even staid with them for a week. Our home insurance has been fabulous too, they sent out a mitigation company (a.k.a disaster response team) right away to get rid of anything damaged, any mold that might have set in from the moisture, they did the drying processes, everything you can imagine. Knowing that you’re in good hands, that will take care of things for you is a big help in feeling better.

A sad coincidence, days before the incident we had just converted our daughter’s bed to its full size from its toddler bed form. It was this magical thing, seeing her in her big girl room, and then this incident happened and it felt like her childhood was violated. I worried how she would feel when she saw what happened, but this little almost 3 year old didn’t cry or anything, she was just curious. It’s funny how resilient kids can be compared to we parents sometimes. I felt heartbroken for a time, but I forgot to remind myself that those were just things—her childhood has not been marred, it was just a scary thing that happened. The sky had not fallen.

All smiles today on St. Patrick’s Day.

One piece of advice I must give you is do not watch The Money Pit (1986)! We are convinced that it is cursed. Whenever we have watched it in this, our first home together, something breaks.

Fast forward a bit and we have had the roof of our townhome checked out, and apparently when an ice dam is very severe, water will find its way into your ceilings and insulation.

You can imagine how anxious we are for construction to start on our bedrooms. Being confined at home when your home no longer feels like a home is pretty depressing, and when you add in all the other inconveniences that followed that night when all hell broke loose on our ceilings and floors, you can understand how it’s possible for someone to feel like the straw has broken the camel’s back. It took about a week to get used to this way of living, which is sort of akin to couch surfing in college, but we are so grateful to be alive, healthy, and together. Our getting back to normal home-wise will take some time (still waiting on a date for construction to start), but knowing when the world can get back to normal life is the question on everyone’s minds.

The Outlook On The Vaccine And Life Returning To Normal

Sad to say we passed the 500,000 dead mark, of lives lost due to Coronavirus in America. Biden said earlier this month on March 2, 2021 that there will be enough vaccine for American adults by the end of May. 10 days later on March 12, 2021 Biden said he hopes small gatherings will be possible by Independence Day. Dr. Fauci said that it is possible that Americans will still need to wear masks in 2022 though. Yikes! But here’s the worst: while most high-income countries will have vaccinated their populations by early 2022, 85 poor countries will have to wait until 2023! This implies the world won’t be back to normal travel, trade, and supply chains until 2024 unless rich countries take actions — such as waiving vaccine patentsdiversifying production of vaccines and supporting vaccine delivery— to help poor countries catch up. It is mind boggling to think that 2/3rds of my daughter’s life could be spent in quarantine.

New York author Lauren Martin wrote in her February newsletter something that I feel like every blog post I make should end with:

remember that it’s not just you. You’re not going crazy, you’re not losing your mind, you’re surviving. And sometimes, survival looks a little like destruction. But soon, maybe not tomorrow, and maybe not even next week, but soon enough, we’ll clean ourselves up and start to feel better.

It’s hard to find the brightspot with such grim statistics, but if those who were alive during the 1918 pandemic could get through a pandemic, so can all of us. We might have to do more victory dances than we normally would to keep our moods elevated, but with one life to live it’s worth doing.

What have the last 365 days taught you?

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