Just Life

Looking Back | March.

Back in January (which seems like saying “Years Ago”), I started a more robust Looking Back practice. In February (just “Months Ago”) I tweaked the format a bit and was feeling pretty pleased with where I’d landed. And then … the pandemic hit home. The day after I shared that February post, on March 12, we started social distancing, and now we’ve been officially Staying Home for weeks. I have been keeping up with my daily photos, but I was struggling to put the words together. Then I saw Kat and Carole share theirs, full of honest reflection; and their posts have encouraged me (thank you, ladies!) to do the same.

1. What am I celebrating?
+ we kicked off the month with a hands-down-successful TWO-night sleepover with the boys. I’m especially grateful for all that together-time with them, since it might be weeks before we see them in real life again.
+ figuring out a Stay at Home routine with Marc that seems to be working. thankfully we each have spaces of our own and things to do. and I am especially celebrating our long daily morning walks. He even let me take a photo on our first one – back on Sunday, March 15; that was my first walk to the lake in months and I loved it.
+ still showering, dressing, and putting on at least minimal make-up every day. It really lifts my spirits.

2. What surprised me?
+ how much – and how quickly – the on-line world has come together to create virtual “community”.
+ and yikes, how much toilet paper we use! I mean we are both retired, I didn’t think we were away from home all that much … apparently, we were! (note that we have since received our first electric bill that includes two weeks of SAH … thank goodness we haven’t had to run the air conditioner yet. I’m afraid whatever we’re saving in not filling up our gas tanks is going to pay for electricity.)

3. What voices am I listening to?
+ Sarah and Beth on Pantsuit Politics. They are keeping me sane with everything that’s happening in our country right now and I cannot recommend their podcast highly enough. (I said this last month and it’s still true).
+ Oliver Jeffers and Mac Barnett – I am completely in love with their afternoon story times on Instagram Live.

4. What was the best thing I watched?
+ In addition to continuing our love affair with the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel, we binged and loved Dead to Me, Self Made and Unorthodox. and we both LOVED The Two Popes.
+ I saw Emma in the theater with my sister. I don’t even have a photo, but it was March 10. we had lunch at my house before the movie. we saw it in one of those huge theaters with the big chairs. we brought clorox wipes and sanitized our seats/tables before we sat down. we completely enjoyed the movie. and a glass of wine after. I will always remember that day as the last day things felt “almost normal”.

5. Read?
+ Emma. of course I re-listened before seeing the movie and the book was just as good as – maybe better than? – I remember.
+ Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel. Y’all know I am a huge fan of Anne’s, and this book couldn’t have come at a better time.

6. What am I leaving behind?
– plans to travel to England/Europe this year. (I am still holding out hope that Sara will get back to the States at some point and that visit will include a trip to Atlanta.)

7. What do I want to focus on in the month ahead?
+ finding “somewhat normal” where I can. also Joy.
+ more making. knitting and sewing.

I streamlined this Looking Back list a bit … and I almost erased those first two questions. I’m glad I didn’t. and I’d love for you to share – what have you found to celebrate or what has surprised you about this last month?

As always, I so appreciate you … reading, commenting, and being part of my story. Thank you!

 

11 Comments

  • Bonny

    I think what surprises me the most are the odd disparities I feel in staying home. I’m not sure I can express it very well, but in some ways this is much like my “normal” life (pre-coronavirus). In other ways it’s very different – only going to the grocery store once/3 weeks, donning a mask and gloves to do it, finding many bare shelves, and wishing I could talk to my grandmother about how she cooked and baked during WWII. Easter without family was a big shock, and you remembering seeing Emma with your sister as the last almost normal day brings tears to my eyes. Mine was probably digging turnips in MD before we left!

  • Sarah

    What surprises me most in looking back is just how quickly everything changed. I remember being at work that last week before we all went home, before there were cases locally, and we talked about it and worried about it but didn’t think we’d all be sent home so quickly. Then, on March 12, we had an office-wide conference call in which we were told to go home for the rest of the day and for the next work day as “test” to see how working from home would work out. And we’ve been home ever since.

  • Kym

    What a great look-back, Mary! It is really head-spinning . . . how quickly everything just came to a halt! I remember in those early days just being shocked at the “big” events and places that were closing — baseball and festivals and Disney World. It was so shocking! And now it seems just . . . normal; of COURSE they would shut down. I think this kind of looking back is so important — not only to help us individually come to grips with what is happening in the shorter term, but also to document and remember when we look back over a longer time horizon. Thanks for sharing, Mary. XO

  • Kat

    I am struck by actual visits to church to worship – on Sunday and midweek for a community Lenten worship. It seems like eons since I have been in church – yet it doesn’t – if that makes sense! I am profoundly grateful for online worship.

    I think the best thing was giving myself permission to mourn. While not joyful, it was most necessary and it helped tremendously. It was not a “fake it until you make it” month for me. Accepting that helped, as did allowing myself to be “there” – my meditations during March were emotional as I grieved for so many things.

    The other surprising celebration is the Zoom meetings with my Library Knitters. We laugh, and laugh, and laugh. It is absolutely the best part of the week.

  • Patty

    Such a great post Mary. I think I’m surprised at how quickly we all changed gears to adapt to the current new normal! I’ve been very fortunate to be able to go to work each day but I do miss going out to lunch! Very happy I decided to start a journal for this period of time. It will be interesting to look back!

  • Cynthia Slocum

    Good morning…..snowing here in Chicago. Today is my 42nd anniversary, and hubby gifted me with covering my pansy window boxes last night after I went to bed. Oh, how the simple stuff brings more joy. I am blessed that family is healthy and delighting in the slower pace.

    Thank you so much Mary for the recommendations of cool stuff to do and read. May I share the Netflix series (four parts) Unorthodox. It is absolutely riveting, and the performance by the young Israeli actress, Shira Haas, is award winning. Also, just finishing Long Bright River River by Liz Moore for my local bookstore reading group. I would recommend it highly.

    Off to make more masks, enjoy the day, Cindy

  • karen

    I hope your daughter can visit!!! we were supposed to visit my MIL in Canada in May (that is not happening). Let’s see what the rest of the year is going to be like. We will plan accordingly. I hope I can see my son before he moves!

  • Alexa

    I’ve really appreciated your frankness and thoughtfulness … Such a momentous time, and yet daily life at home seems so ordinary. I’m another one who showers, washes hair, dresses and puts on a bit of make-up every day :). Thank-you for the recommendations – I will certainly look up the podcast. Hoping you’ll get to make those Europe plans before too long :).