With so many troubling events in the last several months, I find myself wishing for the blessing of hindsight. It would be so much easier of we could only see this era from the refuge of the future. Many of the sharp edges of emotion and pain would be a bit blurred. The high emotions of today would seem distant and less toxic. I am actually looking forward to saying “if only I knew then what I know now”!
Some readers may be thinking that I have poor eyesight or never feel down in the dumps. Not so. But (and that’s a big but), I have been here before. Not in a pandemic, searching for a vaccine slot for me and my husband. Not helping my grandson with very confusing homework in GoogleClassRoom. Not watching nervously as the government wobbles it’s way into the future. But I have been here before. Feeling trapped, not very useful, with much confusion and more than a sprinkling of fear.
As hard as it is for me to accept today, I have enough experience to know that the future is coming, ready or not. These are tough days. They are lonely days. The isolation and concern has gone on over a year now. There is no “getting used to it”, there is only getting through it. Everyone has some level of fatigue, and that causes malaise. It can make us sloppy. You know what I mean. The dishes are still in the sink, and dust bunnies are creeping out into the room from the corners. Who else is wearing yesterday’s shirt because it is so much work to reach into the drawer for a clean one? And I just really don’t care very much -no one is coming to visit, and we haven’t left here in months.
In the 1980’s my husband was laid off for an extended period of time. I was pregnant with twins and there were two toddlers aged two and four that needed me-mommy. The last trimester, the doctor put me to bed because of complications to the the pregnancy. I could only do one thing on my feet each day. I could make one bed or cook one meal, or do one load of laundry and that was all. I had a lot of fear going on.
With manufacturing leaving the country for parts unknown, would my husband be able to find work as a design engineer? What would be left, after the doctor bills, from the small savings we had worked hard to grow to buy a house? Would my babies be okay? How would it effect the young toddlers with me being present, but not very involved? What could my non-cooking husband present for dinner that would be edible?
It turned out to be not bad. Oh sure, it was not easy or fun, but having my husband home and managing the chores and the kids gave me some gifts that I didn’t expect. I received new-found respect for my efforts as a stay-at-home mom from my hard-working husband. We welcomed the twins-full term and healthy. It took us longer to buy a house, but we found more joy in the purchase. The toddlers made it though it too. My husband was able to make a few simple meals that we love to eat, even today.
What would have happened if the lay-off hadn’t come our way? I have thought a lot about that in the last few months. Would both twins have been healthy, or even alive, without my husband’s ability to handle my share of the home load? Would the kids have silly stories to tell about their dad if he was away at work and not a delightful part of their earliest memories? Would we take our living situation for granted and never find gratitude in everyday joys? Who knows!?
Hindsight is nearly always better. Yes, it’s bad, but it might not be “bad”.
That doesn’t mean I am going to attack those dust bunnies today, and I did put on yesterday’s shirt this morning. It means I can accept the now and try to set aside my doubt, malaise and feeling trapped. The future is coming, ready or not!