Thank You Lockdown

I have a vivid memory from my childhood. The power went out. It was almost bedtime and I was scared. But my parents lit candles, took flashlights and ignoring bedtime, spent a couple of hours telling stories, making hand shadow animals on the wall and making the light flicker to pretend we were in a silent film

There was no TV that night. No radio from my sister’s room, my dad wasn’t tinkering in the garage. It was a different night- a night I got to know what my family was like when we were all together- and things were different.

I’m finding the lockdown/stay home situation to be full of surprises. Much like that night long ago. I’m discovering who my family is. I always loved them. But I’m learning to enjoy them in a new way. I’m discovering things about myself I didn’t know- some good, some bad. For instance, I appear to be a bit lazy with the housework and haven’t emptied the sink completely of dishes for the last 2 weeks. I also don’t own enough forks.

We all have different blessings and challenges, but here’s my top 10 things I’m grateful for in this lock down:

  1. My house. It’s not neat and tidy-though Lord knows I have the time to make it that way. But what it is, is big. With stairs I can exercise on. And central heating and cooling. And soft cushiony chairs and couches. And food and the gas to cook it with. So, yeah- SOOO grateful for that!
  2. Gardening- I’m putting in a garden for the first time in years. I have the time and might need the veggies.
  3. Playing cards with my family- We’ve always enjoyed it when we could, but now we can. A lot!
  4. I’m learning new tech- I FaceTimed and Zoomed for the first time in my life- and ok, it was ugly at first. I hung up on the first person who FaceTimed me thinking I was accepting the call. But hey, for a non-Techy like me, this is a big deal. And I got to see my son’s face even though he lives far away, which warms a mama’s heart!
  5. My neighbors are talking- to me and each other. (From a safe distance of course) I live in a stick-to-yourself sort of neighborhood. We typically park in the garage and close the garage door before exiting the vehicle, if you know what I mean.  But we’re all so tired of talking to ourselves that anyone passing the house is fair game for a gab session. And those garage doors are standing open.
  6. Trying new foods- I got cut off from my raisin supplier so I had to buy online. I found Life’s Grape raisins aka- the best tasting raisins in the world!
  7. Getting groceries delivered to my front porch- this is a luxury I would never have even thought of much less experienced. And it’s sooo nice!
  8. Netflix- Thank you for being cheap and entertaining me when I just don’t want to think about the survival of the world anymore.
  9. Nations being too busy to fight each other over stupid stuff- We’re all in this together (Thank you High School Musical, that song is stuck in my head now) and it’s made our world seem smaller and people around the world relatable.
  10. Simple pleasures with my loved ones- Yesterday my 23 year old son and I took a walk through our neighborhood- something that hasn’t happened since the teen years hit. We stopped to pet a cat, laughed together about something one of his friends had said, noticed the neighbors yards. It was a simple pleasure I couldn’t have imagined before this lockdown. And I loved it.

I’m not talking about being grateful for the loss of life, the loss of money, the loss of freedom being felt around the country- or the world, rather. I’m speaking about looking for the positive in the middle of the tragedy. Gratitude in spite of circumstances.

If I stop and think about next week, next month, food shortages, what ifs, and who’s to blame, I feel my chest getting tight. The panic starts up. If I listen to the news and read social media arguments I want to join the fight, place blame, despair.

But today I realized I have a choice. Today I can jealously guard the peace I found in this slow day and quiet moments. I can play cards with my family around the kitchen table, Zoom with extended family and sing silly songs with the children. I can count my blessings today, and save the worries for tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. It’s my decision whether I view this as a burden or an adventure-an oppression or an opportunity.

So today, when I’m spritzing Lysol on my mail, I’m gonna stick a little pocket hand sanitizer into the mailbox with a note telling my mail carrier that they’re doing a great job. I’ll send an email to a friend I haven’t seen in weeks and attach a picture of me and my cup of tea captioned wish you were here-6 feet away.

Next week or next month, we may be back to life as we knew it- business as usual. The busy will be back. But I’m going to look back on the memories were building here today. And I’m going to miss these days. I’m learning new things about myself, about my family. I wouldn’t trade these days for anything.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be feeling fearful, or frustrated. And that’s ok. But here, today, while I can- I’m choosing to be grateful.