No Comparison

Here we are going into Memorial Day weekend.  Another school year is winding down and another summer is just around the corner.  Flowers are blooming, temperatures are warming, and we’re…  We’re…  We’re doing the best we can.  We are confused.  We are frightened, angry, hopeful, pessimistic, optimistic, bored, overworked, questioning, protesting, obeying, reading and learning, sleeping too much, not sleeping, eating to much, not able to eat…  

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March.  I work from home now and so does my husband.  My boys are home instead of in school.  Do you know how much noise and confusion can come from 10, 11, and 13 year-old boys?  Do you know how much they eat!?  I get up and get breakfast for everyone.  Then we all go to our work spots or school spots and get on the computers.  Soon I hear, “Mom, this thing isn’t working.  It’s frozen again.”  “Mom, I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do with this math.”  “Honey, I’m on a conference call.  Can you get them to stop yelling?”  Then it’s lunch and right back at it.  I’ve told them not to bother me this afternoon because I have a project due today.  So I get to hear them yelling, “Dad, I still can’t do this math.”  “Wait for your Mom, she’s better at math.”  “Dad, I don’t understand the book I’m reading.”  “Dad, why do we have to do this stupid school stuff?”  And it goes on and on until I’m back in the kitchen making dinner.  Thank goodness my husband put up that hoop so that boys can go outside and play basketball.  They can spend hours doing that.  It’s the only time that I get any quiet time to myself other than when I go out each morning for my run.  I am going nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March. My husband leaves every morning by 4:00.  He runs a grocery store.  There are so many demands that he has to meet even before he opens up for the day.  He’s putting in ten or twelve hour days and working seven days a week dealing with the public.  The public that seems to think he is purposely not stocking the toilet paper shelves.  The public that seems to think that any safety measures are pointless or at least something that they don’t really have to do.  The public that faces the stress of this pandemic and takes it out on my husband who is risking his life to keep their food available.  And he and I are scared.  We won’t let any of the grandparents come here because they aren’t supposed to and we’d be putting them in jeopardy.  Because, I mean, who knows what he’s bringing to home to us.  And people tell me how lucky I am because I only have one child and don’t get so overwhelmed with all of the homeschooling.  Well guess what?  There’s a lot to get overwhelmed with when you have only one child.  An eight-year-old.  And she hasn’t had anyone but you to play with for 10 weeks – 70 days!  I go for a walk or a run in the morning.  She comes with me.  I run downstairs to do laundry.  She comes with me.  We have run out of crafts and projects.  We have read everything and watched movies, movies, movies.  We have done all the school work and then some.  I am going nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March.  It’s just the two of us.  All day.  Everyday.  It’s like a really bad version of Groundhog Day.  Don’t get me wrong. I love my wife, but I never knew how annoying she could be.  She has cleaned this house from top to bottom.  And she’s done it multiple times.  She reads aloud to me.  Not because I need or want her to.  She reads the scrolling stuff at the bottom of the tv screen. She says I chew too loud, that I make a mess in the bathroom sink, that I never put things back in the fridge, and that I don’t pay attention.  She has organized closets, scrubbed carpets, painted rooms, and taken on projects.  Which means I have also organized closets, scrubbed carpets, painted rooms, and taken on projects.  The weather finally turned nice and I went out to work on the yard.  There she was.  She came along because it was something different to do, and Lord knows the house is already clean enough.  I’m going to mow because the mower is loud enough to drown out everything else. This keeps going nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March.  Seventy days in the house alone.  I started out doing some projects.  You know, like everyone else I was cleaning closets and kitchen cabinets.  I love my reading, but for the first few weeks I couldn’t concentrate on it.  So I attempted to put a puzzle together.  Yeah, I’m not made for that. I can’t bear to have the television on too long and social media is depressing.  All the bad news and people pointing fingers instead of solving the problem make me mad. I’d get off, but then it would be just me again in the silence.  The next project I thought of was sorting through all my old photographs.  I figured that would make the time go by.  It sure made my dining room a disaster area with all those boxes and pictures spread out, but after a couple of days that was done too.  I have two friends who are also old and alone at home.  We talk to each other every day but there isn’t a lot of us to say after this long.  Not that we would stop calling each other.  If we did that, there would be no other human voice all day.  All the others are too wrapped up in what’s happening at their houses.  It’s bad enough that there is no human voice here, but there’s no human touch either.  The days drag on nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night and can’t go to sleep.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March.  The ER where my husband works was overwhelmed.  They don’t have equipment.  They don’t have space.  They don’t have the answers.  And it isn’t much different up here except for the fear, the panic, the loneliness, and the hopelessness that I have to help patients through.  We don’t have any more equipment that they do downstairs.  We’re close to running out of space.  And we don’t have answers either.  I lost another patient yesterday.   I haven’t seen my kids in weeks except when we Facetime.  Thank God my parents were here and could take them.  I don’t know how we would have done what we had to do otherwise.  I am going nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March.  I’m not working from home and I’m not going to work.  The salon is closed.  I haven’t had any income for 10 weeks.  Yeah, I own the salon, but it’s not like it’s making a ton of money.  We do okay in normal times, and I can pay my bills.  But this ain’t normal.  I had to let the two stylists that work for me go.  I’m home with the kids and trying my best to help them with their school work and not let them see the worry I have.  I sympathize with my senior who won’t have a prom or a graduation.  I worry about the house payment, the utility bills, the car payment, insurance.  The governor says we can’t be foreclosed on and put out in the street and our utilities can’t be turned off.  I know that, but how will I ever catch up once business starts up again.  I’ll be running from behind for months.  And that $1,200?  Well, that was nice, but it couldn’t handle three months of house payments and car payments.  It isn’t enough to keep the electric on. Thank God for that food pantry in town.  We aren’t going hungry.  But I’m afraid.  I am hustling nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night trying to figure out what to do.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Well. I. Have. Had. It.  I have been stuck here since the middle of March.  My dad caught it.  Then Mom was sick.  She got better, but he didn’t.  I was grateful that my husband was able to work from home and be with me and the kids right now.  But I couldn’t be with Dad.  I couldn’t say good-bye.  I couldn’t be with Mom either.  I keep moving.  I help with the homework.  I clean up the house and make the dinners.  And I keep moving.  I’m a little bit numb.  It feels like I’m running in chest-deep water.  I’m not getting anywhere.  But I am going nonstop from first thing in the morning until I fall into bed each night and cry.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

It is so easy for each of us to think our own situation is the worst.  Obviously there are people who do have it worse than others.  They are on ventilators.  They have lost loved ones.  They have no food.  They are being abused at home and have no where to go.  They had no home to shelter in.  They were shot and killed while trying to do their jobs at the dollar store or another retail outlet by someone crusading for “my rights” and refusing to wear a mask.  (There was another of those killings today.) 

There is one belief that all faiths share – and it’s a good one.

The rest of us?  Well, we’re all having a tough time right now.  It sucks.  We need to get out of our own heads and reach out to each other.  We need to quit being on the attack on social media.  We need to “do unto others as we would want them to do unto us.”  Take five minutes away from whoever or whatever is annoying you to call a friend or a relative.  Spend that time talking about what you have all been doing to fill the time.  Reminisce about past days.  Look ahead to brighter days.  Tell a funny story.  Listen to and validate their experiences — none of what we are doing here is what we wanted to do or planned.  Don’t try to one-up each other to see who has it worse.  Don’t get wrapped up in the blame game, the politics, the ranting about our liberties, or the doom and gloom of the time.  Be there for each other.  Love on each other right now.  I know I could use some of that love coming in my direction.  How about you?

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