I  can not believe we have been sheltering in place due to the Coronavirus for 7 weeks now, but it is true.  Schools in New York have been closed 7 weeks and we have adjusted to learning on line, teaching on line, working from home, shopping only for food and necessities while wearing masks, keeping a social distance, watching the news and waiting. Waiting for the numbers of new cases to go down. Waiting for the numbers of deaths to go down. Waiting for the vaccine.

As we tire from watching our local and federal politicians, we have grown to respect recommendations from health advisors about how to start up the economy again.  Some states in the south or in sparsely populated northern states are planning to reopen businesses soon.  New rules about low numbers of patrons in restaurants or stores is suggested. Hair and nail salons may open soon. New York still has high numbers so while a plan is being made, it will not be ready to go for some time.

I believe most states have now cancelled school for the remainder of this year but we have not heard about the fate of New York schools yet.  It seems likely the distance learning model will remain in place for some time.

Life at home seems to have taken on a rhythm this week.  We still have 5 adults and 2 dogs living here.  We are enjoying our nightly dinners at the dining table and then play a game after the meal together which I really appreciate.  The rest of the day we all pass each other and head in and out of the kitchen making breakfast and lunch in accordance with our wake up time that day.

The weather has been awful for late April.  Lots of cold rain which can easily bring down your mood.  The good side is that when we do get a sunny day, the smiles are even brighter.

I took a long walk on both of our sunny days this week and cheerfully waved and greeted, from a distance, neighbors who were also out walking or in the gardens planting flowers or doing yard work.  The daffodils and tulips have since bloomed and we are all anxious to see all the green and flora this rain will yield.

The walking hasn’t been enough to manage the pounds I am putting on during this pandemic. I made gluten free peanut butter cookies which were a big hit.  Peanut butter, sugar and egg – that’s it, best with a chocolate chip on top. Yum.

Everyone is taking turns shopping for food and providing meals.  My husband treated us to a fabulous Polish feast with a pork roast, sauerkraut, beets, red cabbage and Pierogies last night.  One son made us a pasta dish and the other treated us to Mexican takeout.  I made salmon one night and beef stew this week too.  We are eating well.

The contents from the two cases of wine delivered this month has been steadily diminishing along with the food in the house.

With all this extra time I decided to tackle the box of home videos, DVDs, and small cassettes from the old camcorder we got the day we brought our first born home from the hospital.  I thought I would go through them and maybe try to edit scenes onto the internet or send to a media company for safe keeping, but I had to take a look at the tapes to check them out first.

Well, it’s been almost 5 years since Mike died, but watching all these home movies and hearing his voice, and my mom and dad’s voices too, and my kids with their little boy voices, is hard and it is good too.  I can’t help but think they were the cutest babies on earth.  And then they were the most adorable toddlers.  And I had this habit of asking them to sing songs for the video camera and it makes me smile.  I so enjoyed those years when the boys were little.

Hours of the same baby sitting in his car seat cooing.  Sometimes the outfits are changed and he is back in that same spot donning giraffes instead of planes.

Next comes hours of kids singing in summer Vacation Bible School concerts because you know we all would want to see that show again.

Oh and the birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese and places that were just like that only cheaper but still had noisy rides and ball pits.  Fun to watch the faces of the bored parents as they stood around the table singing.

So many moments captured on film that maybe only their mother could love.  The scenes with Mike and the boys are precious.  He loved to put the boys on his shoulders. There is one scene of him trying to teach a kid how to ride a skateboard.  Action shots of him giving the babies raspberry  farts followed by cute giggles.  I know they will appreciate seeing these bits when they get older.

Both boys are home now and they don’t seem that interested.  They pop in and watch a few minutes and smile, but then they have better things to do. Maybe I’ll just send the 30 odd cassettes to iMemories for them to put on a cloud and organize for me before they disintegrate in the box.

Visiting the past is nice, but not the place for me to stay. I know that from the months after Mike died when I would relive that last day over and over.  I struggled to make sense of what happened.  I tried to change it in my mind; I should have done this or I could have done that.  It took a long time to mentally get past that and start moving forward. After the anger and denial and crying came a time when I had to acknowledge that it really did happen.  I didn’t have to accept it, but the truth was that I could not change the past.

One day at a time, taking baby steps forward was the only way to go and through journaling, traveling and some hard work I am in a good place now.

I will always love Mike, but I have a new love in my life with a new husband.  We have an exciting future ahead of us. We are making our own memories and have a whole new chapter to write.

Taking this pause gives us time to focus on what is most important to each of us.  To me it is the people in this house right now.  I am so blessed to be here with them.

Next month I am going to take some time to implement more healthy lifestyle changes.  Stay tuned for next week when my health becomes a top priority.