Saturday, March 21, 2020

On Expectation

How we see our lives and how we expect things to go for us is life or death right now, sanity or madness. This has been an emotionally exhausting week! Not knowing is difficult, and there's so much up in the air right now.

It reminds me of when I was first pregnant and past my due date. Every little spasm in my belly set off alarms. Now it's not my belly any more, but higher. A little tickle in the throat, a cough from the dust, a twinge in the chest all have me super hyper-focused on my body: Is it here?? Is it time??

We have to take precautions, absolutely. We're happy introverts in my home, comfortably hunkering down, but then necessary grocery shopping is like running across the trenches to deliver a message. Get in and out as fast as possible! Check down each aisle before turning a corner! Wash all the produce as soon as we get home from the store! Okay, apparently some of these precautions are ones other people have always taken. But miss wiping a corner of a box of cereal with a Lysol wipe, and it could mean the end of us. The cashier (Praise be!) might inadvertently cough as she bags the groceries, spraying us with invisible bullets. I'm not looking forward to the next trip. Hopefully we can make it two weeks with this load.

But once we're home and scrubbed clean yet again, we have to create an ideal little nest as much as possible, with music and baking and creating things and some good conversations. For those of us with the luxury of a job we can do from home, and the tremendous luxury of reasonably good company in the home, we have to imagine the weeks ahead of us as a respite from the noise of the world. Imagine the games and days on the porch or garden and the bike rides and just time to be lost in thought. Pay attention to the people who are sharing and helping like never before. We give our world the colour of our thoughts. If we start to worry about how long and how hard and how small the house is and every little irritation that's bound to arise, then we will have painted our days with jarring contrasts and muddy tones. 

There are other precautions to take that people aren't discussing, like teaching the kids how to access emergency funds in case I succumb so they don't lose the house. What do you want done with your things? With your body? Garbage day is Tuesday. There have been a few of those conversations too.

During that first extended pregnancy, my midwives told me to enjoy the time. Everything's easier with the baby on the inside, they warned. I scoffed then too! How can I enjoy my time with this event looming over everything I do? Their advice holds as well today as it did way back then: eat well, sleep well, go for lots of long walks, and finish that book you've been meaning to read! It happens when it happens, and we all just hope everyone's healthy on the other side.

Before the baby was due, a few well-meaning friends warned me their deliveries took over 36 hours, so I prepared mentally for the long haul. Two weeks later, when the labour pains were finally real, I watched the clock through the breathing and paced myself. It ended after only 12 hours, which felt like nothing compared to what I was expecting. Tonight I told my kids to expect this to end in July, and maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised in May! We just have to get our heads around it all in the right kind of way to make these next few months manageable. This will be a marathon, not a sprint.


Lorne said...

An excellent post, Marie. We can all benefit from the perspective you offer here.

Marie Snyder said...

Thanks, Lorne. Hope you and yours are keeping well these days!