I thought I would just catch you up a bit — minus the Christmas card.
We all know 2020 has been one of the hardest years of our lives. But the last three months have been a little extra crazy for our house. Forget the pandemic locking us all up in March. That feels like a vacation now compared to this fall.
I guess I’ll just start with my doctor phobia.
I’m 46 years old and decided I better go ahead and get my first mammogram this last summer. That led to some concerning results that led to lots of waiting, and another mammogram in August, and more waiting, and a final analysis of “We’re not entirely sure what this is, but it’s probably nothing because of your age so come back in six months and we’ll take a look again to make sure it’s not growing.”
Yep. The first mammogram.
Then a month later some very good friends of my son were taken out of their home and put into foster care. It’s a much longer story and it was a terrible day. But alas, as He so often does, God had other plans. We were asked to foster the kids. Have you ever been thrust into your destiny in 8 hours? Yeah, it was one of those kind of days. The woman who couldn’t have one kid for four years, and then couldn’t have a second kid for seven years, now has four kids and three of them are teenagers in the 8th grade.
God sure is funny that way.
And as if life weren’t crazy enough, five weeks ago, I contracted Covid. The first staff member at my school to do so. I’m not entirely sure how or where I got it. I am a part-time teacher. I don’t go out often. I wear a mask daily, but I do see 140 elementary kids twice a week in my library and STEM/Makerspace area. I am tasked with cleaning every surface they all touch three times a day. And yes, I knew the risks I was taking when I went back to in-person teaching in August. It’s definitely a fine line between living without fear and living with caution.
But what I do know is that Covid-19 ain’t no walk in the park for everyone.
It wiped me out. It was not like having the flu. I was in bed for 13 days straight. I had all the symptoms — the cough, the congestion, the chills, the body aches, extreme fatigue, the loss of taste and smell. THE HEADACHES. At one point, I wrote a good-bye text in the middle of the night to my husband who was sleeping in the living room because I thought that particular headache was going to take me to heaven. I was honestly a little surprised to wake up the next day. But little by little, I did regain my strength and got my “normal” me back. I had to quarantine from my entire family within the house. And still, the three teens ended up catching some version of it — although there was no time for more Covid testing. My husband was doing good to stay well, work from home, and make sure everybody was okay and eating food at least once a day. Our first grade daughter hid in her bedroom and did online school on her own. My entire new family quarantined under our roof together for three weeks straight. My mom and friends left food and/or meds on our doorstep. It was CrAzY.
Of course I’m SO thankful to be alive to write this. I’m utterly thankful for my circle of support who pushed in and made sure we stayed afloat. But bottom line: I don’t wish Covid on anyone. Period. (And I know my mask helped keep those I exposed outside of my home from getting it. SO WEAR A DAMN MASK.)
Still — like you, I’m grieving a lot right now. For one, I would love to get my smell and taste back. It’s been five weeks and two days since I lost smelling my husband’s cologne and tasting a delicious meal. And I’m sad I won’t smell my turkey cooking on Thanksgiving Day. Turns out, 97 percent of Covid patients lose smell and/or taste, and most people get it back within two weeks to a month. But some never do. That might be me. And I’m kinda sad. But as bad as that is, you know what I miss even more??? Normalcy.
I know you know that feeling too. Every week it seems things change. For us, it’s foster care appointments, online school for the older kids, in-person school for my little one, and learning to teach hands-on AND digital for quarantined K-5 students in Covid-teaching land. (You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to teach a kinder on Zoom.)
But I know your world is topsy-turvy, too. There’s lots of loss for all of us right now. And yet … I can’t help but remind myself that … it could be worse.
I’ve found that other than my faith in God and in all things eternal and unseen, it helps to remind myself daily that things could be worse. Much worse. The pandemic could have been a concentration camp instead. Or I could be in a hospital bed right now. I could be grieving a loved one’s passing. These foster kids could have been split up and put in homes with people they didn’t know. It helps me so much to look outside of myself and try to help those around me who may be losing their hope today.
So yeah, I’ll take grieving the loss of smell, taste and normalcy any day of the week.
What are you grieving today? Have you lost your way?
You’re not alone.
I hope you’ll take a moment to look outside of your current circumstances and watch for the rising sun. It will rise again. But if you want to vent and grieve a little too, I totally get it. There’s room for that as well, and I thank you for letting me do the same.
With a heart full of Thanksgiving,