On Family: in a Pandemic

It’s a test, isn’t it? Finding yourself at home 24/7, with the same people, day after day? In normal times, that doesn’t happen. We have work and school and activities and friends and errands.

But, in lockdown, during a global pandemic? Hello! isolation experiment. Would we prove ourselves ready for a long-haul space mission, or would one of us go mad and start launching the others of out the airlock! Dystopian future, here we come.

It sounds ridiculous, but really, those first few months had hints of just such an experiment. As school and work both shifted to home, and errands involved the risk of bringing the virus back into our home, we spent way more time together than I think any of us could ever have imagined. Or wanted!

You know what though? Despite the stress and the fear, and the never-ending nature of the pandemic (that still hasn’t ended)? What I remember most from the past two years is the laughter.

When the kids were young, there were days (more than I’d like to admit), that I was just holding out for bedtime. For a moment of peace. A moment without anyone invading my personal space. No questions, requests, demands.

Just quiet.

Now that I have a teenager and two tweens though; sometimes I miss the noise.

In the depths of the pandemic, with evenings undisturbed by activities, I got some of the noise back. Family dinners, binge watching shows, lazy breakfasts, and family projects (hello new patio and kitchen!).

Even as things have returned to somewhat normal (although, what even is that anymore?), we have managed to maintain some of the new rhythms that we developed in the early days of the pandemic. As 2021 ended, and 2022 arrived, I have held on to some of those new simple family moments. We still eat dinner around the coffee table, watching our latest family binge (reality competitions are our favorite, bring on the baking or the flowers or the tattoos!).

We talk, we laugh at the shows, the kids even tell us funny stories from school. Unprompted!

I love our little family. We are strong, we are happy. We work. Even after two years of living in each other’s pockets, we can still laugh. And while I do miss spending my days in our little bubble, I am glad, for all of us, that some semblance of normality has returned.

We are not designed to live life in isolation.

We are designed to live a life of small joyful moments. To have enough space to notice those moments. To appreciate, even when lost in the bickering and stresses of family life, that there are moments of pure joy to be had.

Life is complicated and messy and hard. But it is also beautiful and loud and amazing.

And having my family, near and far, along for the ride is the best thing ever.

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