My kids are watching Frozen. I had my doubts about this movie. I tend to doubt most things this commercial, but the movie is visually captivating with some cool songs and lots of heart. However, this is not a Frozen review.
What I’m trying to say, is that it takes all my mysterious powers, not to pour another cup of coffee, snuggle on the couch with my kids, and escape into a magical world.
Instead, I’ve toasted another bagel and sat down to type. (Whether or not you believe COVID-19 to be a threat, we can all agree the QUARIENTINE-15 is real.)
On March 5th, my family ventured to South Lake Tahoe for a few days vacation.
Side note here: This was as the COVID-19 situation grew in Washington. We also had one case in Placer County, where I grew up – Go Hillmen. At that time the U.S. had 14 nursing home deaths and a handful of positive tests. As I write, the U.S. now has over 140,000 cases – more than any other country – and more than 2,500 deaths. Over 300 people died in New York last night. Today is March 30, 2020.)
In Tahoe, we had some last days of skiing and tried to stay away from gatherings of people (lets be honest, other kids) and when we said goodbye to Grandma Liz we had the feeling we probably wouldn’t see her for a couple months. Barrett went back to school for one day before we pulled him. Then his preschool closed. Everyone would be staying home.
While on vacation we attended a timeshare sales pitch for the “free” money. There was hand sanitizer everywhere and the sales guys were elbow bumping in an effort not to spread germs. Now, they are closed, all those people laid-off.
We went to the little gift shop to spend our money and bought some ski pants, stuffed animals for the kids, (the one Bear burned on the fireplace) and finally, some of the inspiration stones that Bear had been eyeing for a year. Both kids chose a stone called BROTHER. Cute.
While we were looking at the stones, Graham played grab-stone and it was hard to track of what he had in his hands. Meanwhile Barrett danced with his new Foxy. There were lots of breakables in the gift shop and it was quickly approaching the time of “we-need-to-get-the-hell-outof-here, before-we-buy-half-that-shelf.” I did my best to make sure Graham’s hands were free of contraband, and the clerk said she thought he’d put everything back.
Well, he hadn’t. We got back to the room and discovered a little blue stone inscribed with SUSTAIN, in gold lettering, in his pocket. I was exhausted in the way parents of young children tend to be at 7 PM and I succumbed to the fact that my child had received his first five-finger discount. (I know some of you are thinking, you should have made him take it back, apologize, return the item, but he’s two, and anyone who has packed a week’s worth of stuff and left a hotel room by 10 AM the next morning know that when it’s time to go, it’s just time to go. Sorry everyone.)
Anyways, I remember looking at the blue stone and thinking, SUSTAIN? What’s the point of that? That’s not even inspiring. Why couldn’t he have swiped PATIENCE?
Yesterday, I rediscovered the little stones in the crevices of my car and I came across SUSTAIN and knew exactly why this little stone had chosen to come into our lives. (Maybe that’s a cop-out for the theft, I don’t know.)
Yesterday, President Trump extended our stay-home timeframe through the end of April. I expected this and expect to go longer, especially in our rural communities where we haven’t been hit yet, but certainly will be, probably a couple weeks after the cities.
Staying home is physically exhausting. Lots more cooking. Lots more cleaning. I might break down and wear shoes to save my feet from the stray Legos. It’s mentally tiring. I’m used to stimulating interaction with other small businesses. It’s emotionally wrought with concern for ourselves, our kids, and our parents. Spiritually... I have done ten minuets of yoga since this all started. I felt it yesterday, cranky, tired, burned-out, depressed.
And yet, SUSTAIN we must. We’ll get thorough this and we’ll remember how we felt and how we acted. SUSTAIN makes sense. It’s taking a deep breath and just unloading the dishwasher. It’s doing yoga even if the kids have to watch some more TV. It’s creating my own projects to help document the COVID-19 crisis for my children. It’s vacuuming the Legos only some of the time.
It’s smiling and being nice, going outside for fresh air, and bowing to humility. I think next time I feel overwhelmed, I’m going to lay a blanket on my lawn (in a horrible state I might add) and look up at the trees they way I did when I was young and needed a reminder – SUSTAIN – We'll be ok.