It’s been one month since the night Peter and I learned there were confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. We live in a small community, located a forty minute ferry ride from Vancouver. So although we aren’t far from the Big City, it can feel very separate. Yet that night we knew what people were experiencing around the world had arrived at our doorstep.
This is from the Psalm I read that night:
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of Your steadfast love
answer me in Your saving faithfulness.
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.Psalm 69:13-15
This has been my continued prayer in the weeks since. I’ll be honest, my emotions have been all over the place. There has been a lot of good and I am very, very fortunate, but even in the good there has been sadness and fear. The parade down our street for a little boy’s birthday was a good thing but sad. My girls have had fun drawing pictures for friends and dropping them off but it’s sad too because Pearl’s best little buddy lives only two blocks away and yet they can’t play together. We’re thankful for the little wooded lot at the end of our street where we can play freely but the caution tape around our local playground makes me feel like the world is ending. I feel so fortunate to be going through this in our age of technology but it’s also so weird to FaceTime with my in-laws who we normally see at least once a week.
We were on Spring Break for the first part of this, which added to the slight unrealness of it. We had travel plans within the province but decided right away it would be best to cancel them. The local government and the ferries are now requesting people avoid non-essential ferry travel and our small town, normally driven by tourism as soon as the weather turns nice, is issuing statements asking tourists to please stay home.
There has since been a fire ban but a couple of weeks ago, we built a fire at the beach near our house and cooked bannock. The girls and I had never done this before and it was a fun treat and we spent all morning playing at the beach. We even discovered a short cut so that the beach can be even closer!
Without our regularly scheduled activities, we are working on other creative ventures. We tried our hand at making apple chips in our oven and then spent quite a while playing with the apple peels. We measured to see how long they were and then made animals out of them. Pictured above left: Pearl and her apple peel panda. On the right is Pearl and I following along with a Mo Willems’ Lunch Doodle. Pearl was even inspired to make her own video. We’ve also joined in on a virtual music class each week.
Since Easter is going to look different for a lot of kids this year, a number of families in our town are decorating their windows for Easter and hiding painted rocks around for kids to find. In order to avoid crowds, it’s an ongoing activity over the last couple of weeks. I drew some simple pictures for the girls to colour in (I’m really not an artist) and we hung them in our front window. We’ve also collected rocks and sticks to paint (non-toxic) to hide around.
Peter’s backyard project is coming along nicely – a palette playhouse. “For little girls,” Rose tells me, “Not mums.”
Since Spring Break ended, Peter has gone back to work…to a makeshift office located in our bedroom. Peter has a job that I would never, ever have expected him to do from home. But now he is. It’s been weird but also nice to have him home. We all get to have lunch together and an hour is chopped off his day that would normally be him commuting. Our house is less than 1100 square feet so working from home has its challenges with two small kids but we’re figuring it out. So far, what I’ve found works best is to get the kids ready and out of the house when Peter begins his work day. That way there feels like a real transition for all of us.
I also had the girls help me make these traffic lights for our bedroom door. Since they can’t read, this works as a clear visual so they know when Dad can be disturbed and when he needs to be left alone. So far, I’ve been really impressed with how well they’ve respected the space and his time. (He did, apparently, have someone on a phone call ask if that was the Paw Patrol theme song in the background! It was.)
We are finding our rhythm. It changes all the time. We’re together, we’re safe, we’re healthy. We’re very, very fortunate. The sun shines most days. After a week or so of feeling paralyzed, of feeling unable to turn off the constant news cycle, I’m doing better now at limiting my news intake, and have been reading a lot more. I’m even a little excited to work through some of the stacks of books I already own and have never read.
I hope you each are well and healthy and finding things to be thankful about. What’s your favourite at-home activity these days?