I live near Seattle. Right now shit is a bit crazy. And I know normally I don’t get super personal, but I’m gonna level with you guys. I am a single parent to three kids. Three beautiful daughters who have no school for six weeks. Which means six weeks of full time child care without being prepared for that expense. I live paycheck to paycheck. I work an hourly job with minimal benefits. I love my job, and I love my boss and coworkers. But this is a very stressful situation. It’s definitely gotten real.
Adding to that stress is normal, every day tasks like going to the grocery store. I went there on Friday during the day and it was crazier than the day before Thanksgiving. More people there than I’d ever seen. No carts. Empty shelves. Nearly empty aisles. The line for checkout wove through the store. I didn’t need much, but seeing that situation made me feel like I needed to stock up on non-perishables. I had to stop, take a breath, and remind myself that there isn’t a food shortage, people are hoarding. This is how things get out of control. I shouldn’t contribute to the situation, and don’t really have the money to start hoarding food. But I bought four frozen pizzas just in case. Because pizza is important.
Every day there’s a new announcement from our governor. First it was schools in the three most populated counties (one of which I live in) were closing for six weeks. Then limiting gatherings to less than 250 people (but only if certain precautions are taken). Then closing schools across the state for six weeks. Then limiting gatherings to less than 50. Now its closing all restaurants and bars, except for take out or delivery. I’m glad I don’t have TV. I give myself a certain amount of time to read the news to ensure I know what’s going on, and then I have to turn it off. Just like many other people, my anxiety is through the roof. It’s difficult to control, and it catches me off guard in random moments.
I’m grateful my boss is allowing me to do some work from home right now. That way I only have to arrange child care for three days a week instead of five. Which I did. I’m so overwhelmingly appreciative of the local Boys and Girls Clubs. They are giving EVERYONE 50% off childcare in order to support our community during all this craziness. They are a non-profit organization, and they are stepping up and helping all of us stressed out, wild eyed parents right now. So if you have a few extra bucks, please consider making a donation to them. I dropped my kids off for their first day at club instead of school and the facilities are as prepared as possible. They checked my kids temperatures before they were allowed to come in, and no parents are allowed past the check-in desk. They’re doing all they can to minimize the risk to the families they serve, and they’re doing it with smiles. They’re also doing it at a huge discount. So please, if you can, donate to their organization here.
My biggest concern, beyond the financial, is my middle daughter. She is special needs and receives all of her services through her school. We’ve been wait-listed for outside services for over two years now, and that’s IF her insurance will cover them. She has autism, ADHD, and severe developmental delays. The occupational and speech therapy she receives through her school is priceless. So when you hear about parents worrying about their kiddos not being in school for an extended period of time, don’t shrug it off and tell them not to worry so much about academics. Those parents could be worrying about other things their children depend on from the school district; things that a parent just cannot replicate at home.
The long and the short of it is this: life will go on. I’m trying to remain calm for my kids and keep their lives as normal as possible. I don’t want to contribute to any problems our area is having. We all wash our hands A LOT. I’m not hoarding food or supplies. We’re staying away from potential crowds but trying to enjoy some time outdoors. I’m trying to be mindful and meditative to keep myself focused and grounded. We will all get through this. Together. I believe our communities have a great opportunity to become closer and stronger through this. But that is a choice we all have to make. I love seeing people offering to help each other, friends, family, and strangers alike. It gives me hope, even though I’m scared. I really hope that together we can flatten the curve and ride out this storm.
Thanks for reading this long, non-“naked in nature” post. It’s just something I needed to get off my chest. And if you want more information on Coronavirus/COVID-19, don’t believe the random Facebook posts (or my blog). Go HERE.