Preparing to Return to...Normal?

It's time to start thinking about...not being in quarantine. After a month and a half of being at home, working from home, not going to church, barely seeing any friends (and seeing very few friends when I do), of canceled plans and not visiting family, of drive-through and pick-up everything...it's time to slowly move forward into a new normal.

I am still not 100% clear what is going on with my work. I've been using some pandemic leave to help with childcare, but that runs out this week as the state Stay at Home order ends. I had planned on keeping Babycakes home with me as long as I was not going into the office, but trying to work 40 hours with a small child at home is brutal. I know- the rest of the world has been doing it for weeks. But it feels like a sign that it's time to get ready and move forward. Not to mention our daycare center has been doing discounted rates for those keeping kids at home, and that is coming to an end soon as well.

I have plenty of work I can do from home, but it's busy work if we're all being honest. It's not pointless, but it's not a normally a priority and not my usual duties. As with most state entities, my employer is updating kind of last minute...our current instructions officially end today, and I'm expecting an update this afternoon if at all. There has been no clear move to return to the campus, but I would be a good candidate to go back soon. I already work separately from the rest of my department, in a space that is not accessible to the public at all. And due to funding, the temporary workers I was with (only 2) have been let go. I thought the official stance was "Stay home," but I don't know if the return will be as clearly defined or up to departmental discretion. In discussing things with my supervisor, she also mentioned some other things I could potentially help with...not sure if she wants me to be more productive with this time, or additional help is needed due to this being the busy time of the office, or just getting me cross-trained since we had been moving towards that before the pandemic hit. 

NC is currently working on a phased return to...normal. Although again, there won't be a true normal for a while. My church is quite large- like, could easily have 600-1000 people on a Sunday. Heard through the grapevine that it's looking like it could be months until we are able to meet together in our sanctuary. That hurts, as church is a pretty big part of our lives and routine. Although I do seriously want to thank our pastors, especially our kids pastor. We have always live-streamed our services, but they have stepped up and done a great job trying to stay connected during this time. They have emailed, called, done daily video devotionals over Facebook...yes, I'm sure they are generic and mass emails, but if I respond I get a personal response back. And that effort means a lot. Our children's pastor has done live-streaming where she says hello to every kid/family who comments on the stream, sent postcards, and organized pick-ups of coloring sheets+snacks. She's also done videos for the kids from the volunteers, and vice versa. Babycakes loves it, and I'm so thankful for the chance to keep Babycakes connected to "her" part of church too.

At this point, I'm waiting on the approval for 25 people to gather so we can have our "small" group meetings again. Since our church is so big, these are little groups kind of like Bible Study groups to help make sure we actually know people and are involved in the church, versus just being a bunch of random faces. It's also a way to help the church pastors know if there are any big needs- our lead pastor is very upfront that it's hard for him to keep up with our entire congregation. We are supremely lucky that our small group has truly turned into our best friends. It doesn't happen that way with every group, but we see our SG all the time. We started out for married couples, of all ages and both with/without kids. As the years have gone by, we sort of narrowed into a demographic of (now) late 20s/early 30s, and we all ended up having kids around the same time. Our kids love each other, we baby-sit for each other, we vacation together, half of us have ended up living on the same side of town and/or using the same daycare...especially for us, since we don't have family in town, these people are our local family. 

Babycakes misses her friends, and will be going back to daycare the week after next. This will be almost exactly 2 months of staying at home. It's crazy...she needs people. She has always been very people oriented- even as a baby, she would rather watch people than play with toys. We have done little outings- like picking up ice cream and eating it in the socially distanced parking lot. She is straight up creepy staring at other kids and families! My poor child. I am slightly worried because...guys, 2 months of being together basically 24/7 may lead to some separation anxiety. And I can't blame her! I went into my office for like 3 hours the other day and she bawled when I left (poor Hubs, he's a great dad but he is essential...aka, he's working normally so it has not been quite the same intensity of togetherness). The first few days will probably be okay due to excitement of seeing people again, but I'm steeling myself for some meltdowns. Especially because the daycare center has been doing modified drop-off more like elementary schools- instead of walking them in and using our keycards/etc, the teachers are picking kids up at the door to minimize exposure on door handles/etc. Not sure if this will be able to continue when the bulk of kids return, so that will be interesting too. Overall we are doing well, but it's illogical to assume these world changes are not affecting the little ones. 

We had a parents-only beach trip scheduled for late June with some friends...got a refund yesterday since the park will be opening 2 days after we were scheduled to camp. So...currently trying to find somewhere accepting reservations for that same weekend. After a few months of quarantine, we need a vacation for sure! One friend said at this point, it can be tents in a backyard. She will spray saltwater on us and buy an oceanic sound machine if we can't get a beach campsite! Bahaha. As long as the kids finally get to visit their grandparents and we get some chill time. Yes, we all love our kids...but no one should spend that much time together. It's just not good for a relationship, IMO. 

Also, super thankful for Facetime/etc. We were literally video calling my mom every single day. I hope Babycakes can visit soon. Hubs & I have been diligent about keeping our social circle very small during this quarantine. I think the transition out will honestly be harder. There is no clear rule or benchmark, and that is very frustrating. I don't like it, to be honest. It feels like being reasonable is a hard line to walk right now. My mom works in retail, so will have more public contact (although they are doing masks, social distance marking, etc) and will likely have a harder time getting days off now. My ILs own their own business and have been able to decrease their contact more, and will likely have more time soon, so hopefully we can do a visit there too. Also we have so many make-up birthday parties/etc! Bahaha. It's going to be hard to keep it calm and not rush back, but also...life can go on, and should.

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  1. We went to my fave Mexican restaurant this week because they finally reopened and it was weird for everyone I think. The workers because it's unusual to have to wear a mask and gloves (which are useless, IMO) and for us because we were one of two tables in the entire place.. and I've never been to this place when it's not at 50% capacity. It was fucking delicious but it also felt rebellious to be doing something so pre-COVID. Not that we did anything wrong, but it was still weird. I feel like that's going to be life for the rest of the year. Part of me is glad things are reopening and life is going on but part of me has enjoyed this slow down. That is probably because I haven't had to deal with financial shifts/woes, which I'm grateful for, so I recognize that privilege.

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