For more than a month, we have been living a surreal existence. When our individual cities and then counties and then states went into different states of lockdown, none of us knew how long this would last. As a teacher, I was told to plan for the rest of the year and pray that we would be able to return before then. As a mom, I stocked up food stuffs and made plans for how our family was going to function for the rest of the school year. As a citizen, I read and watched and wrote to process everything that was happening both in the US and on the other side of the globe.
We’ve hit an awkward, imperfect rhythm. I’ve had to change the way I parent, the way I teach, the way I live my daily life. Some days are better than others. Some days are more productive than others. I’m relieved that I am an introvert who loves my close friends but is usually ok being a homebody. But I’m also driven crazy by the fact that runs and bike rides are the only time I’m ever alone.
And even with that, there is so much I miss about life BC (before COVID).
I miss watching my kids play sports.
Soccer season was just starting and flag football was right around the corner. I love watching my kids play, even though I don’t always love the unpredictable weather, sunburns, and occasional bug bites. I miss watching my little boy run up and down the field with absolute joy as he kicks the ball towards the goal.
I miss the comfort of my classroom.
While there are only four humans in our house and we have all found a space to call ours, I miss being surrounded by the comforts of my classroom and shutting the door to the outside world. I miss being able to focus just on my work and not having to answer to kids, dogs, or my husband. And I miss the other bodies that occupied the space of that classroom.
I miss my students.
Yesterday I called a student who was struggling with his assignments and I was reminded just how much I missed talking to my high school students and sharing in their lives. I miss standing in front of them and teaching them in person. I miss laughing with them as they make real world connections to what they are reading and writing. I miss their adolescent insight. I just miss them.
I miss dressing up.
Yes, I know we are all joking about dress jogging pants and teachers are saying that jeans will be dressing up at this point, but I really do miss getting dressed up for some things. I was fully reminded of this on Easter Sunday when I insisted that we get dressed for online church. No one was going to see us except for the pictures that we took in our backyard but I didn’t care. I’ve written about the freedom of messy hair and no make-up while we are camping, and I really do embrace that, but I also like having a reason to get dressed up. I miss it. And I look forward to having a reason to get dressed up with somewhere to go.
I miss worshiping with others.
Our church went to online services at the very beginning of the gradual shutdown as it rippled across the country. Our pastors made the immediate decision that it was in the best interest of our congregation to not gather in large numbers, and for that I am very thankful. I’m thankful that we had the ability to worship at home and their efforts have not gone unnoticed. But I miss worshipping with fellow believers. I miss singing with others. I miss sitting in Bible study on Sunday morning and diving deep with friends. Doing all of that at home just isn’t the same.
I miss alone time.
Three introverts and an ambivert all together in one house is usually ok. When we are on traveling vacations and living out of our camper, we do pretty well because we’re moving and we get the freedom to move outside of a single space. But now I’m going crazy. I miss the 45 minutes to an hour that I spent in my car every day, happily listening to a book or podcast. I miss a classroom door that I could shut on everyone. I miss the occasional shopping trips when I was doing what I wanted to do, not frightfully racing through a store so I don’t have to worry about being infected. While I do get runs and occasional bike rides away from my family, I miss being able to just be with me.
There are many things that I miss as normal has been upended and a new normal is waiting on the other side, but we’ll make it. We are all mourning the loss of something, most of us are mourning the loss of many things. While I struggle to cope with all of the things I miss, I know that this is for the best and someday those things will return, in one way or another. Until then, I will just keep living the best that I can.