Here we are, 67 days in. The shock has worn off, and we've assimilated somewhat nicely to our new routine. We know where we will be going this weekend—nowhere. We know who we will be seeing this weekend—no one. Yet somehow, as the global pandemic dust settles all around us, we are finding ourselves connecting with far-away family now more than ever before.
Isolation from family is not new to us, as we live 1500 miles away from our nearest blood relative. We are quite used to being self-sufficient in our little duo (now trio), and have become accustomed to surrounding ourselves with "friends that are family" to fill that void. It is clear to me how social distancing has been particularly difficult for those who see family regularly. But this has not been, nor has it ever been, a reality in our family. The pandemic has brought much change, but this was not an everyday luxury that was taken from us.
In fact, amazingly, quite the opposite has occurred. Pre-COVID-19, several weeks would pass before a FaceTime would be scheduled. "Zoom" was not a word used in our personal vocabulary. But now, this is part of our routine and no longer an afterthought. For the first time in our adult lives, and certainly for the first time in our son's life, we are seeing and talking (not just texting) our families and friends on a weekly basis. This, my friends, is a true luxury that we've never been accustomed to.
We've spent small holidays together for the first time in a long time.
We've had meals together, and played board games together.
We've shared bottles of wine, and countless laughs sitting around a table.
We've toured nurseries and home improvement projects being proudly shared.
All from the comfort of our own homes, in our own states, with a simple push of a button.
Why, I often ask myself these days, did it take a global pandemic for me to utilize the technology that was already readily available to me? This level of connection has always been possible, but the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives somehow has taken priority. I let it. In the business that has been a demanding career, a self-imposed travel schedule, gatherings with friends—I am saddened to admit to you that I've let the core relationships of our family fall to the wayside. The endless pursuit of the "other things" has had this unintended consequence.
This experience of "stay at home" has been a bit of a personal renaissance of sorts for me. Cooking, baking, writing, walking, beaching, connecting, organizing, nesting—and all of the other verbs that comprise all of the things I've always wanted to do, but have felt too busy to. And the fostering of relationships with family certainly falls in to that category. It's unclear what the world will emerge to be when all of this is over—if it ever is truly over. What I do know is that my heart is warmed knowing that the physical distance and prohibition of travel has not only left our family relationships intact, but has strengthened them.
An Excerpt from A Typical Demuth Family FaceTime:
"Carson! Look at Cousin Jordy! He's making funny faces at you!" Daddy says.
The little dude stares blankly at the screen with furrowed brow, trying to make sense of it all. Meanwhile, a spunky four-year-old on the other end of the line tries desperately to make this baby smile. Finally, a smile is cracked and a giggle leaks out. The adults follow suit.
"How's the baby?" I ask, looking for the newborn baby sister to aforementioned four-year-old. The camera pans over to the soft back-and-forth motion of a hand-me-down baby swing. I learn that she is sleeping somewhat well, eating well, and just starting to smile.
Aunt Julia asks Carson how he is doing as well, and comments on how big he's gotten since the last time she's seen him. I tell her about the day-to-day struggles, as well as the new milestones he's hitting. I tell her I'm worried he's not walking yet. She assures me it's okay.
It's clear from the low whines and throwing back of the head that it is time for nap (and time for mom and dad to have a break). The small window where every child is happy has passed, and it's time to wind down.
"Say goodbye!" I say to Carson, taking his right hand in mine to mimic a waving motion, hoping this sticks in his muscle memory. "We love you! See you soon!"
"Mom! Can I push the red button?" we hear cousin Jordy shout from across the room, as he runs as fast as he can.
"Not if Carson beats you to it!" I say, as Carson reaches a tiny pointer finger outwards in slow motion.
The iPad screen reverts back to default, and the smiling faces of our family disappear. "Until next time..." I think to myself, taking comfort knowing that 'next time' is just a week away.
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something first-time mom raising her little dude in southern California. It's been quite a first year, and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.